Hong Kong Photo Gallery - Sheung Wan

Sheung Wan is a hive of shophouses, exotic markets and steep "ladder" lanes. Along with neighbouring Western District, this where modern Hong Kong started, mushrooming around Possession Street where the British first planted the Union Jack in 1841.

Chinese vendors gathered here during the early colonial days to sell their wares along the waterfront. Merchants fleeing war in China also settled here and the business district grew. By the mid-19th century workers came through Hong Kong on their way to gold mines in Australia and the US, while money came back the other way to their hometowns.

Small green-coloured portable shops are a disappearing breed in the city's historic alleys.

Hollywood Road and Cat Street are famous for its antique and second-hand stores, which started settling here in the 1920s. It was once a haven for selling stolen "rat" goods, with the buyers being nicknamed "cats".

Meanwhile, the areas closer to the harbour have more modern office towers.

Yet amidst the modern buildings, Hoi On Cafe has remained, one of the few remaining old-school restaurants serving traditional fare since the 1950s.

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