I am in Hong Kong for a conference of the World Federation of Chinese Methodist Churches. The conference begins tonorrow so today has been a day to meet with friends and to explore.
Hong Kong is a busy, crowded, modern city. There is much to see and do but I was intrigued by the description in the guide book of a garden and a nunnery so I bought my Octopus Card, and set out on the MTR (tube) to Diamond Hill station. I had read about a peaceful garden and so I was very surprised to come out of the station onto a very busy interchange with traffic moving in may directions and at many levels. How could there possibly be peace here?
Nan Lian Garden is built in the Tang style, a modern representation of the timber structures and gardens of the Tang dynasty. The garden was designed and built by Chi Lin and opened in 2006. In a limited space the garden contains miniature versions of beautiful natural scenes. There is bird song, music and traffic noise, skyscrapers framed by foliage and temples, waterfalls and tranquil pools.
Visitors are asked to follow a prescribed route around the garden and it was a route full of surprises and unexpected delights. This truly is peace in the city, you are not taken out of the city which is very visibly and audibly the context for the garden. You are taken deep into the sights and sounds of the garden which complement and enrich those of the surrounding streets. Garden and city are as one and this felt like a peaceful heart of both.
|The Pavilion Bridge - Nan Lian Garden|
|Whaer wheel - Nan Lian Garden|
|Leaving the garden|
It is (quite naturally) forbidden to take photographs in the Main Hall and Hall of Celestial Kings but these photographs give some idea of this place of peace in the city.