Hong Kong from Victoria Peak
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Victoria Peak is a mountain in Hong Kong. It is also known as Mount Austin, and locally as The Peak. The mountain is located in the western half of Hong Kong Island. With an altitude of 552 m (1,811 ft), it is the highest mountain on the island proper, but not in the entirety of Hong Kong, an honour which belongs to Tai Mo Shan.
The actual summit of Victoria Peak is occupied by a radio telecommunications facility and is closed to the public. However, the surrounding area of public parks and high-value residential land is the area that is normally meant by the name The Peak. It is a major tourist attraction which offers views over Central, Victoria Harbour, and the surrounding islands.
The view of Central, Kowloon and Victoria Harbour from Victoria Gap, near the top of Victoria Peak.
The Peak Tram approaching the Peak Tower.
As early as 19th century, the Peak attracted prominent European residents because of its panoramic view over the city and its temperate climate compared to the sub-tropical climate in the rest of Hong Kong. The sixth Governor of Hong Kong, Sir Richard MacDonnell had a summer residence built on the Peak circa 1868. Those that built houses named them whimsically, such as The Eyrie, and the Austin Arms. See First houses on the Peak.
These original residents reached their homes by sedan chairs, which were carried up and down the steep slope of Victoria Peak. This limited development of the Peak until the opening of the Peak Tram funicular in 1888.
The boost to accessibility caused by the opening of the Peak Tram created demand for residences on the Peak. Between 1904 and 1930, the Peak Reservation Ordinance designated the Peak as an exclusive residential area reserved for non-Chinese. They also reserved the Peak Tram for the use of such passengers during peak periods. The Peak remains an upmarket residential area, although residency today is based on wealth.
The Peak Tower from Peak Road. The entrance to the Peak Galleria is to the right.
Hong Kong at night viewed from Victoria Peak observation deck
The road junction at Victoria Gap, next to the Peak Tower. From left to right: Peak Road, the Peak Lookout Restaurant, Harlech Road (with street vendor), Mount Austin Road (with taxi), Lugard Road.
View of Pok Fu Lam from Victoria Peak at sunset.
Tourist can try a traditional rickshaw ride on The Peak.
With some seven million visitors every year, the Peak is a major tourist attraction of Hong Kong. It offers spectacular views of the city and its harbours. The number of visitors led to the construction of two major leisure and shopping centres, the Peak Tower and the Peak Galleria, situated adjacent to each other.
The Peak Tower incorporates the upper station of the Peak Tram, the funicular railway that brings passengers up from Hong Kong's Central district, whilst the Peak Galleria incorporates the bus station used by the Hong Kong public buses and green minibuses on the Peak. The Peak is also accessible by taxi and private car via the circuitous Peak Road, or by walking up the steep Old Peak Road from near the Zoological Botanical Gardens.
Victoria Peak Garden is located on the site of Mountain Lodge, the Governor's old summer residence, and is the closest publicly accessible point to the summit. It can be reached from Victoria Gap by walking up Mount Austin Road, a climb of about 150 metres (490 ft). Another popular walk is the level loop along Lugard Road, giving good views of Hong Kong's Central district and Kowloon, and then returning via Harlech Road, encircling the summit at the level of the Peak Tower. There are several restaurants on Victoria Peak, most of which are located in the two shopping centres. However, the Peak Lookout Restaurant, is housed in an older and more traditional building which was originally a spacious house for engineers working on the Peak Tramway. It was rebuilt in 1901 as a stop area for sedan chairs, but was re-opened as a restaurant in 1947.
Rickshaw ride is also available outside the Lion Pavilion on Findley Road, provided by one of the few remaining licensed rickshaw pullers in Hong Kong. 
 Natural history
The Peak is home to many species of birds, most prominently the Black Kite, and to numerous species of butterflies.
Hong Kong Mid - Level Escalator
The Central–Mid-levels escalators in Hong Kong is the longest outdoor covered escalator system in the world. The entire system covers over 800 metres in distance and elevates over 135 metres from bottom to top. It was constructed in 1993 to provide a better commute by linking areas within the Central and Western District on Hong Kong Island.
Hong Kong Island is dominated by steep, hilly terrain, which makes it the home of some rather unusual methods of transport up and down the slopes.
Since it was officially opened to the public on 15 October 1993, the elevator system has played a very important role in pedestrianising the Western District. It links Des Voeux Road in Central with Conduit Road in the Mid-levels, passing through narrow streets. The daily traffic exceeds 55,000 people, although originally forecast 27,000.
The escalators are 800 metres (2,600 ft) long with a vertical climb of 135 metres (443 ft). The total travel time is twenty minutes, but most people walk while the escalator moves to shorten their trip. Due to the geographical situation, the same distance is equivalent to several miles of zigzagging roads if travelling by car. It consists of twenty escalators and three moving side-walks. According to Guinness World Records, these escalators together form the longest outdoor covered escalator system.
The escalator daily runs downhill from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. and uphill from 10:30am to midnight. Apart from serving as a method of transporting, it is also a tourist attraction and has restaurants, bars, and shops lining its route. There is an entrance and exit on each road it passes, often on both sides of the road.
 Bisecting streets
The escalator runs through Cochrane Street between Queen's Road Central and Hollywood Road. Then it runs along the entire length of Shelley Street.
The escalator bisects the following streets/roads:
Des Voeux Road Central (德輔道中)
Queen's Road Central (皇后大道中)
Stanley Street (士丹利街)
Wellington Street (威靈頓街)
Gage Street (結志街)
Lyndhurst Terrace (擺花街)
Hollywood Road (荷里活道)
Staunton Street (士丹頓街)
Elgin Street (伊利近街)
Caine Road (堅道)
Mosque Street (摩羅廟街)
Mosque Junction (摩羅廟交加街)
Robinson Road (羅便臣道)
Conduit Road (干德道)
 Project history
The proposal of the project began in November 1987, when the Government faced the problem of increasing vehicular traffic in Mid-levels. It was an "out of the box" transportation solution generated by a group of civil engineers working for P&T Architects and Engineers Ltd.
In operation since 1993, it cost HK$240 million (US$30 million) to build although it was originally approved in March 1990 with a budget of HK$100m and annual maintenance costs of $950,000. Since its conception in March 1987, its scope and its budget were considerably increased.
In November 1996, the Director of Audit issued a report which criticised the project as being a "white elephant", saying that it failed to achieve the primary objective of reducing traffic between the mid levels and Central, as well as over-running its budget by 153%. The Highways Department's poor handling of the project was the main reason for having five cost revisions of the project since the budget had been initially approved. Director of Audit blamed it for failing to address the risks and complexities associated with the project in the pre-tender estimates, and costs rising because of delays. Land resumption costs were also underestimated by $74 million (or 180%).
The report also points out that a "before-and-after" study by the Transport Department indicated no obvious reduction in traffic congestion.
 Reshaping of landscape
Since the escalator system opened, most pedestrians gather at the elevated level; previously they gathered at the street level. This has opened up large tracts of intermediate levels above ("SoHo") and below ("NoHo") Hollywood Road, to pedestrians and commerce. Many restaurants have opened around all the elevated level, in the first or second floors of buildings already present.
 Film location
The Central–Mid-levels escalators have been used as filming locations for several films, including:
Chungking Express (1994). Director Wong Kar-wai stated: "That interests me because no one has made a movie there. When we were scouting for locations we found the light there entirely appropriate."
Chinese Box (1997). Set in the months immediately preceding the 1997 handover of Hong Kong, the flat-cum-office of the main character John (Jeremy Irons) is located directly at the Central–Mid-levels escalators.
Batman film The Dark Knight (2008). Filming took place there from 6–11 November 2007