Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The History of Georgetown

Georgetown the lively capital of Penang is an animated city, brimming with a multitude of heritage attractions like colonial edifices, ancient churches, ornate temples, Chinese shop and clan houses and lively ethnic enclaves. These ancient structures provide much information about Georgetown’s rich historical past and it is for this reason that UNESCO has designated the city’s core as a World Heritage Cultural site, a must-visit attraction for avid sightseers and history buffs.

Prominent attractions on Georgetown’s heritage trail: -

Fort Cornwallis- this star-shaped fort was the first structure constructed by Captain Francis Light when he arrived in Penang in the 17th century. The fort was reinforced and finished in the 19th century but continues to hosts original structures like prison cells, a chapel, ammunition storage areas, a harbor light, the original flagstaff and a few bronze cannons dating back to the 17th century.

The Penang Town Hall-this grand Victorian edifice was inaugurated by Governor Sir Fedderick Weld in 1880, and served as the epicenter of the town’s social activities, like theater performances, church services and more.A Cenotaph, erected in memory to those who died during World War 1 is located within its ground as is a Victorian fountain.

Convent Light Street school- the school is the oldest girls school in Malaysia and is housed in a building, which once was the residence of the governor of Penang.

Kapitan Keling Mosque- this mosque dates back to the 19th century and was constructed by Indian Muslim Soldiers attached to the British Army.

Ancient churches- Georgetown’s magnificent churches like the Cathedral of the Assumption, a catholic church built in 1890 and the St. George’s Anglican Church completed in 1818 are a sight to behold.

The Penang State Museum- this stately building was established in 1816 and has housed the Penang Free School and the Hutchings School down the ages.

The City Hall is a magnificent example of the new Palladian school of architecture. Completed in 1903, it once housed the Penang seat of government but now houses the Municipal council of Penang Island.

The Sri Mahamariamman Temple – this is the oldest Hindu temple in Penang, dedicated to Hindu deity, Sri Muthu Marriaman. Originally a humble structure, it has grown in stature over the years and now is topped with an elaborate gopuram feature 38 Hindu gods and goddesses.

The Goddess of Mercy Temple- Dating back to 1728, the Goddess of Mercy Temple is the oldest Chinese temple in Penang.

Chinese clan houses and temples- also of note are the various, embellished Chines clan houses and temples, the  Khoo Kongsi,  the Yap Kongsi Temple, the Tua Pek Kong Temple and the Cheah Kongsi.

The complete listing of prominent architectural landmarks in Penang is available it - http://www.visitpenang.gov.my/UnescoHeritageBrochure.pdf



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