Yim Tin Tsai: Hong Kong’s abandoned island

Hong Kong (CNN)– While numerous visitors to Hong Kong learn about the primary Hong Kong island, house to much of the monetary capital’s high-rise buildings, the city is in fact an island chain.
Several of Hong Kong’s islands, like Lantau, Lamma and Cheung Chau, are domestic and quickly available by commuter ferryboat. But others are a bit more difficult to check out.
One of those is Yim Tin Tsai, off the far northeast side of Hong Kong, in the New Territories closer to mainland China.

In some methods, the island is not unlike a village in the rural United States, where it ended up being harder and harder to earn a living from farming and children left in droves.

The initial inhabitants were a household called Chan from China’s Guangdong province who farmed salt– the island’s name implies “Little Salt Farm” in English.

Many of the Chan descendants relocated to more metropolitan parts of Hong Kong looking for work or a various sort of life. Others left the area totally.

These days, Yim Tin Tsai is no longer formally deserted. It’s house to one part-time homeowner, a volunteer who works as caretaker. This volunteer and neighborhood agent, Colin Chan, resides in the close-by town of Sai Kung– and, as you might have thought by his surname, he’s a descendant of the Chan clan.

There’s a little museum and present store throughout from the ferryboat pier, along with– perhaps most significantly– public toilets.

An abandoned home near the ferryboat dock.

Lilit Marcus/ CNN

To get to the island, get a kaito– a little motorized wood boat typically utilized as a ferryboat in between smaller sized islands– from the pier in the beachside neighborhood of SaiKung

These boats just work on weekends and vacations, although if you are attempting to arrive throughout the week you might have the ability to employ a boat from the business that line the waterside.

After the brief flight out to Yim Tin Tsai (about 15 minutes, depending upon the weather condition), you’ll take a straight off of the dock and instantly begin strolling through a series of abandoned houses and other structures.

Some individuals left furnishings and other individual possessions behind with them when they moved away, and years of direct exposure to Hong Kong’s hot, rainy weather condition has actually left them in numerous states of disrepair.

Walking along the path, you’ll pass homes with their roofing systems collapsed, Buddha statues looking at you from empty windows and other scary scenes.

But not whatever on the island has actually been abandoned to the components.

Yim Tin Tsai was greatly Catholic in its prime time.

The best-preserved website on the island isSt Joseph’s Cathedral, which has a remarkable red and white altar inside.

The structure was finished and consecrated in 1890, and there is a statue ofRev Josef Freinademetz, an Austrian priest and missionary who concerned Hong Kong in 1879, in the gardens behind it.

Freinademetz developed the Catholic chapel on Yim Tin Tsai and after his death was canonized as a saint by Pope John Paul II.

Both the Catholic Church and the city of Hong Kong, which has actually stated the cathedral a website of historical worth, keep the structure.
Catholics in Hong Kong celebrate Freinademetz saint's day every year on January 29.

Catholics in Hong Kong commemorate Freinademetz saint’s day every year on January 29.

Lilit Marcus/ CNN

There’s another development appearing on Yim Tin Tsai nowadays: an art job that utilizes stained glass to illustrate scenes from common town life.

The glass windows, which reveal scenes like standard wedding and salt farming, are among the numerous brand-new on-island tasks that came as an outcome of the inaugural Yim Tin Tsai Arts Festival in2019

There are intend to hold a 2nd yearly celebration in 2020, although the coronavirus pandemic might put those intend on hold.

Either method, it’s clear that Yim Tin Tsai has actually handled a 2nd life well beyond its salt harvesting days.

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