Brunei

Tiny state in Borneo, sandwiched between Sarawak and Sabah. After it was a big regional player a few hundred years back, Brunei became rich upon the discovery of Oil in the 1940s. For a period time the Sultan of Brunei was the richest person in the world.

Penang

Penang is the name of an island in the Straits of Malacca, and also of one of the states of Malaysia, located on the north-west coast of peninsular Malaysia. Penang is the second smallest state in Malaysia after Perlis, and the eighth most populous. A resident of Penang is colloquially known as a Penangite. The city Georgetown is the 2nd biggest city in Malaysia and traveller′s hub.

Man in Kampung

Georgetown and Melaka just became Unesco world heritage sites

On Monday, July 7, 2008, the historic city centre of Melaka and Georgetown, Penang with their mostly Chinese shophouses and colonial buildings were just been added into the list of Unesco World Heritage sites. Therefore, Malaysia now has four sites on the list, the other two being Gunung Mulu National Park (Sarawak, tropical karst area) and Kinabalu Park (Sabah, highest peak in South-east Asia).

Comments

With such announcement, Peninsula Malaysia now has 2 World Hertiage sites. Hopefully this title, it will bring even more efforts to preserve the historical architecture, restore and refurbish old houses and prevent them from being demolished and replaced with new buildings. The atmosphere in the streets with its 2-storey shophouses, walkways and colonial buildings is truly unique, especially during the night with the lighting effect, the peaceful atmosphere when the traffic has slowed down. Much effort has been done for the past few years to upgrade the area, proper side-walks has been constructed, the river (Melaka) has been cleaned, etc. However, some of the measures taken by locals are a little over-doing and unconsciously spoilt the original feel of what the quarters used to have. With the title as Unesco World Heritage site, every measures to renovate or build within the awarded area will be monitored closely. If the historical buildings are being threaten by the act of demolishing, the title will be removed by Unesco itself as the objective is to maintain its origins and Unesco will keep monitoring the devolopment of the Heritage Sites.

The core areas encompass the historical sites of George Town, including the Lebuh Acheh historical enclave and sites such as the Lebuh Acheh Malay Mosque, Jalan Mesjid Kapitan Kling Mosque, the Goddess of Mercy Temple, Sri Mariamman Temple, Khoo Kongsi, St George's Church, Assumption Church, St Xavier's Institution, Convent Light Street, Little India, the museum and court building, the commercial area of Beach Street, Fort Cornwallis, Esplanade, City Hall, the clan jetties and the port areas.

In Malacca, the historical sites near the St Paul???s Hill, the 17th century Dutch Stadhuys buildings, Jonker Street with its Dutch-era buildings, Jalan Tukang Besi, Kampung Morten and Malacca River have been recognised as part of the world heritage sites.

Quote from the UNESCO Wolrd Heritage Centre:

Melaka and George Town, historic cities of the Straits of Malacca (Malaysia) have developed over 500 years of trading and cultural exchanges between East and West in the Straits of Malacca. The influences of Asia and Europe have endowed the towns with a specific multicultural heritage that is both tangible and intangible. With its government buildings, churches, squares and fortifications, Melaka demonstrates the early stages of this history originating in the 15th-century Malay sultanate and the Portuguese and Dutch periods beginning in the early 16th century. Featuring residential and commercial buildings, George Town represents the British era from the end of the 18th century. The two towns constitute a unique architectural and cultural townscape without parallel anywhere in East and Southeast Asia.

http://whc.unesco.org/en/news/450


Melaka

The Red Square with Clock Tower (built in 1886, not by the Dutch), Christ Church (built between 1741 and 1753 by the Dutch), Stadthuys (completed 1610 by the Dutch):


St.Pauls Church (built in 1521 by the Portuguese)


Chinese shophouses

part of Melaka River that has been cleaned up and renovated in 2007


>> more about Melaka



Georgetown

Old City Hall, Colonial District (built by the British in late 18th century)


Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion (built in late 19th century), UNESCO Most Excellent Heritage Conservation Award in 2000


Chinatown


>> more about Georgetown
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