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Kowloon (//) is an urban area in Hong Kong comprising the Kowloon Peninsula and New Kowloon. With a population of 2,019,533 and a population density of 43,033/km2 in 2006, it is the most populous urban area in Hong Kong. The peninsula's area is about 47 km2 (18 sq mi).
Kowloon is located directly north of Hong Kong Island across Victoria Harbour. It is bordered by the Lei Yue Mun strait to the east, Mei Foo Sun Chuen and Stonecutter's Island to the west, a mountain range, including Tate's Cairn and Lion Rock to the north, and Victoria Harbour to the south.
Kowloon comprises the following districts:
Kowloon covers two geographical constituencies for the Legislative Council of Hong Kong:
The name 'Kowloon' (Chinese: 九龍; lit. 'nine dragons') alludes to eight mountains and a Chinese emperor: Kowloon Peak, Tung Shan, Tate's Cairn, Temple Hill, Unicorn Ridge, Lion Rock, Beacon Hill, Crow's Nest and Emperor Bing of Song.
The part of Kowloon south of Boundary Street, together with Stonecutters Island, was ceded by Qing China to the United Kingdom under the Convention of Peking of 1860. For many years the area remained largely undeveloped, used by the British mainly for tiger-hunting expeditions.[self-published source?] The part of Kowloon north of Boundary Street (New Kowloon) was leased by the British as part of the New Territories under the 1898 Second Convention of Peking for 99 years. Within New Kowloon is Kowloon City, an area of Hong Kong where the Kowloon Walled City used to be located. The Kowloon Walled City itself was demolished in 1993. The same area was called Guanfuchang (官富場) during the Song dynasty (960–1279). "New Kowloon" has remained part of the New Territories.
Statutorily, "Kowloon" is only the area south of Boundary Street and Stonecutters Island, but in common use, New Kowloon is not regarded as part of the New Territories, but as an integral part of the Kowloon urban area whether north or south of Boundary Street.
Large-scale development of Kowloon began in the early 20th century, with the construction of the Kowloon-Canton Railway and the Kowloon Wharf, but because of Kowloon's close proximity to Kai Tak Airport, building construction was limited by flight paths. As a result, compared to Hong Kong Island, Kowloon has a much lower skyline. After World War II, Kowloon became extremely congested when slums for refugees from the newly established People's Republic of China gave way to public housing estates, mixed with private residential, commercial, and industrial areas.
The area of reclaimed land known as West Kowloon was once home to a dockyard for the Royal Navy.
The 1911 census recorded a population of 7,306, with most being Hakka. The invasion of China by Japan in 1937 caused the population of Kowloon to grow drastically. Between 1937 and 1939, 750,000 refugees arrived in Kowloon and nearby areas, with many not having residence.
As of 2011[update], 2,108,419 people lived in Kowloon.
About 94.2% of Kowloon's residents are of Han Chinese ethnicity. The largest ethnic minority groups are Indonesians (1.8%), Filipinos (1.5%), Indians (0.5%), Nepalese (0.4%), and British (0.3%). Around 86% of Kowloon's residents use Cantonese as their usual language, while 2.3% use English and 1.2% use Mandarin.
Kowloon comprises these localities of Hong Kong:
Partial list of educational institutions in Kowloon:
Kowloon is connected to Hong Kong Island on the mainland by two road-only tunnels (the Cross-Harbour Tunnel and the Western Harbour Crossing), two MTR railway tunnels (Tsuen Wan line and Tung Chung line/Airport Express) and one combined road and MTR rail link tunnel (Eastern Harbour Tunnel, containing the Tseung Kwan O line and road traffic in separate parallel conduits). No bridges connect the island and Kowloon.
Centenary Garden Fountain, Tsim Sha Tsui
Maze Garden, Kowloon Park, Tsim Sha Tsui
An Air France Boeing 747 passing above Kowloon, prior to landing at the old airport in 1998.
Star Ferry Pier, with the Hong Kong Cultural Centre and Tsim Sha Tsui Clock Tower in the background.
Night view of Kowloon from Hong Kong Island