Johnstone Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong in 1994 (left) and 2019]
Hong Kong has been in the spotlight for much of 2019, with massive protests closing down large swaths of the city on a regular basis. What began as demonstrations against an extradition bill has expanded to now include calls for greater democracy and government accountability.
In 1994, Hong Kong was still under British rule, as it had been for almost 150 years.
However, on 1 July 1997, Hong Kong was handed back to Chinese rule with the promise of “one country, two systems", which allows for Hong Kong to function with a large degree of autonomy.
Already a modern metropolis in 1994, on the face of it the changes that Hong Kong has seen over the last 25 years may not seem as drastic as other cities on this list. However, between 1994 and 2019 the population increased from just over six million to about 7.4 million and the city continued to expand and develop.
By the 1990s Hong Kong's Kai Tak Airport was one of the busiest in the world and struggling with increasing passenger numbers. The airport was famous for planes having to fly close to high-rise buildings before landing on a single runway that extended into Kowloon Bay.
In 1991, construction of the USD 20 billion Chek Lap Kok Airport began. Over the next few years, two neighbouring islands were flattened and some 12.5 square kilometres of land was reclaimed, creating a new island and adding 1 percent to the total land area of Hong Kong. The new airport was opened in 1998.
1994 saw the demise of the infamous Kowloon Walled City, a densely-populated, largely lawless neighbourhood that was home to some 50,000 people.
Built on the site of an old Chinese military fort, at its peak the Walled City was the most populated neighbourhood in the world and synonymous with Hong Kong's underbelly. It was torn down in 1993/1994 and replaced with a park.
Today, Hong Kong has a bit of everything: slick city streets of Wan Chai (pictured) and Central Hong Kong, Jade Markets, colonial-era buildings, beaches and forest. Some of the best street food in the world is sold from small stalls in Causeway Bay or Mong Kok, Tsuen Wan and Sham Shui Po.