Monday, March 21, 2011

Noonday Gun at Hong Kong

A lesser-known tourist attraction in Hong Kong is the Noonday Gun at Causeway Bay. Its just walking distance from MTR station using D1 exit, passing thru subway carpark areas of World Trade Centre and Excelsior Hotel.

During the 1800s, the Jardines company gives a gun salute to the Jardines' head known as Taipan, whenever he arrived or left Hong Kong. One time however, a new senior naval officer was annoyed at this practice, and as a penalty he ordered the company to fire a Noonday Gun as a time signal for Hong Kong. It has been the practice until this day 365 days a year, except during the World War II period in 1941-1946.

The original cannon was replaced twice, first with a six-pound gun, then the Hotchkiss Mark 1 3-pound gun currently used. When the gun is fired, eight bells are sounded, signalling the end of fore-noon watch. Since 1946, the gun has also been used to welcome the New Year at midnight of New Year's Eve.

The gun's site on the harbour is accessible via the basement parking areas in World Trade Centre, and in Excelsior Hotel as shown below.

Signages are everywhere on the parking area and on the tunnel. You will also see the green metal pipes on the tunnel.

Here are the views of the harbor. I was the first tourist to arrive at 11:45 am, so I have plenty of time to take photos and get the best viewing area.

One of the boats that ferry passengers to the yachts and ships on the harbor.

The Jardines guard as he opened the gate, removed the gun's plastic cover, waited a few minutes, before loading the blank ammunition cartridge.

The guard sounding the bell before firing the gun. See the smoke of the quite blurred photo, as he pulled the trigger. We were all jolted by the sound and vibration of the gun! Then, he closed the chain again before sounding the bell.
Later, the guard let the tourists inside the enclosed area for photo ops. See its rearview, and other views below.

Make sure you are at the area by 11:50 am to have a ringside view of the firing of the gun.
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