|Pang Ancestral Hall in Fanling Pak Wai|
A lot of immigrants and refugees from other parts of China crossed borders and settled down in North New Territories to escape from wars, floods or typhoon. Generally, they immigrated in groups of families with the clustered there with the same family name. This is how the Clan Culture emerged.The Fanling Wai  is where the Pang Clan settled. Since the population grew and so many people lived there, the Fanling Wai enlarged to 3 parts, which are Pak Wai, Chuang Wai and Nam Wai. As the group has the same Ancestor, they built a Hall to memorize their ancestor. Every year the all the families will gather in the Ancestral Hall for the ceremonial event. They also built schools and study halls for Clan’s long term prosperity.
|Walled Villages in Fanling Wai|
Among all the Fanling Wais, the most famous one is the Fanling Chung Wai. Actually, the recognizable pictures Pond, Cannons and Watchtower often appear when people introduce about the walled villages in Fanling. I you observe carefully, you’ll find the pond in front of the walls is actually man-made, you may wonder what’s it used for? For collecting drinking water or just for fun? Actually, it one feature of traditional Chinese architecture, they all comply with “Fengshui” rules. In general, according to Fengshui, the best location for housing should be with waters in the front and mountains at the back. There are mountains at back but there is no water at the front of the gate, so they put a pond just there.
At both the entrance gate and the cornered walls, there are 3 circles painted white, and they are all Fengshui reasons. Fengshui, is an issue almost every architect should consider when designing the location and landscape in China. With a good Fengshui, the residents can have a safe and peaceful life while the villagers can obtain harvest in autumn. Therefore, we should bear in mind that for every future design or planning for architecture in China and Hong Kong, we should still take Fengshui into consideration after the thorough design. It’ s not in the scientific logic/manner but it is a tradition deeply rooted in the Chinese Architecture Culture and you should be considerable on that no matter you believe in it or not as long as your works are located in Chinese regions.
Leung Yeuk Tau Heritage Trail
|San Wai (Kun Lung Wai)|
The 1st ones are Tsung Kyan Church and Shek Lo along the trail; they are Grade II and Grade III historic buildings respectively. We also paid a visit inside the Shek Lo, which resembled some of the scenes we often seen in detective movies. It was built in around 1920s and the site in front of it seems being developing into a conservation site at the moment but unfortunately, the Shek Lo seemed poorly protected.Then we arrived at Ma Wat Wai and Lo Wai – walled villages. Their entrance towers and walls are all declared monuments. The walls of Lo Wai still existed well; it used to be a good protection when during wars. There all also wells in inside and gun hole on the wall, villagers could stay inside for many days to protect themselves under the adamant walls.
Later, we arrived at out last destination of the Lung Yuek Tau Heritage Trail – San Wai (Kun Lung Wai).As seen from the above photo; the Gate Tower Wall is well protected and maintained its origins. But when you go inside, you find a mix picture. Some new 3-storey houses have been built inside unregularly, with old ones combined internally. The villagers seem have to build new houses to live in a “modern world”, the old houses will be dilapidated sooner or later.
Conservation: As an intersection of mainland and local HK with a diversified culture and history, the Fanling and Sheung Shui area should be a good exhibition of Historical Heritages. However, to catch up the trend of HK’s internationalization and under the pressure of fast-paced economic growth, HK lost lots of heritages in the past decades. The government seemed indifferent on the historical sites and turned them down to accommodate modern development and skyscrapers. But till now, they realized they are running at an amazing speed but on a confusing direction with all these historical sites unpreserved. They are actually starting their heritage preservation trial in recent years.Fortunately, though in tandem with the aggressive urban development, and in north part of the New Territories, there are still some old heritages undamaged. So we had a chance today to see what they were like and learn more about the culture and history.
|New Blocks Accompanied by Heritages|
Combination: We found that the architectures there are actually a combination of ancient and modern. This seems a compromised way that how these heritages could survive in the fast-pace urbanization and internationalization. However, it is just a temporary shelter for these heritages, there must be some better solutions to protect them and simultaneously, accommodate modernization and urbanization.
 Fanling Wai (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fanling_Wai)
 Feng Shui (http://fengshui.about.com/od/thebasics/qt/fengshui.htm)
 Leung Yeuk Tau Heritage Trail (http://www.discoverhongkong.com/eng/see-do/culture-heritage/historical-sites/chinese/lung-yeuk-tau-heritage-trail.jsp)
 Heritage Trails (http://www.amo.gov.hk/en/trails_lung.php)