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HK public take a tour of Government House

THOUSANDS of Hong Kong citizens and tourists took a tour of Government House in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region yesterday, strolling around the blooming garden in the peak of azalea season.

Government House was open to the public from 10am to 5pm.

Prominent among the lavish garden of lawns, trees and shrubs are the multicolored azaleas, originally planted in 1919, that bloom every spring.

Apart from taking a stroll in the garden, visitors were also welcome to see the drawing room and dining room where the chief executive holds important official functions and receives dignitaries.

Government House is open to the public twice a year, drawing thousands of visitors every time, a government spokesman said.

HKSAR Chief Executive Donald Tsang on Saturday joined a group of enthusiastic student photographers and their teachers at a photo-taking activity at Government House, the day before the Government House Open Day.

With its unique role in the fascinating history of Hong Kong, Government House was declared a monument of Hong Kong in 1995.

This magnificent mansion, combining neo-classical elegance with tropical ambience, was the official residence and office of 25 of Hong Kong's 28 colonial governors.

With the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region on July 1, 1997, Government House became the most important venue for the chief executive and the special administrative region.

Tung Chee Hwa, the first HKSAR chief executive, chose not to live in Government House but continued to use it for official functions. Tsang is the latest host of Government House and the first HKSAR chief executive to live in the building.

Nestled in 24,000 square meters of grounds, the house stands gracefully in the midst of the metropolis, surrounded by high-rise towers.


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