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July
'Ancient garden' to open on Hammer Hill Road in 3 years

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A ground-breaking ceremony took place today (July 17) in Wong Tai Sin District to mark the start of construction of Hammer Hill Road Park, which is designed to be a unique, 33,000 square-metre "ancient garden within the city."

"The park is expected to cost $245 million and be completed in three years," said a spokesman for the Leisure and Cultural Services Department. "It will certainly be a splendid scenic spot for both local residents and overseas visitors."

The park will be developed by the Chi Lin Nunnery and be architecturally compatible with the adjacent Nunnery Monastic Complex and its Lily Garden, which was also developed by the Nunnery on behalf of the Hong Kong Government.

An entrustment for construction of Hammer Hill Road Park was signed between Chi Lin Nunnery and the Government in January.

"Upon completion, the park will be handed over to the Government and owned fully by it as a public park," the spokesman said.

Taking full advantage of the natural topography, Chi Lin Nunnery plans to transform the land into a classical Chinese garden, faithful to the style of the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD).

"The park will be based on the concept of a famous Tang Dynasty garden in Shanxi, called the Jiangshouju Gardens and Ponds," the LCSD spokesman explained.

Attractions will include pools, ponds, streams and springs, wells and waterfalls, as well as a large collection of unusual rock formations.

There will also be an abundance of vegetation, ranging from mature trees to bonsais, shrubs, bamboo and flowering species.

The park's many Tang Dynasty-style architectural features will be made of precious timbers. They will include podiums, multi-level buildings, chambers, rooms, square pavilions, hexagonal pavilions and a pavilion with a thatched roof.

The Jiangshouju Gardens and Ponds are among the oldest and most famous in China. Their fundamental layout and landscaping has changed little over the centuries. Tang Dynasty gardens are characterized by beautiful mountains and natural water flows; they differ distinctly from the later Ming and Qing Dynasty gardens, which tended to follow the particular inspirations of their builders.

"The Hammer Hill Road Park will be similar to Jiangshouju in terms of layout, with the pond as the centerpiece," said the spokesman.

"The park's central axis will be linked to the Hammer Hill Road Pedestrian Footbridge. To the north will be the Lotus Garden, a Western Lotus Garden and the Chi Lin Nunnery."

End/Thursday, July 17, 2003

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