George Town, named by the British after King George
III, is Penangs capital city. The government centre and its financial
heart, George Town is an interesting and bustling city with modern high rise
buildings, cathedrals, mosques, government offices, temples, bazaars, shops
and cafes. A myriad of delights, George Town is very compact - the older
part of the city is a labyrinth of narrow lanes and alleyways, which makes
it a pleasure to walk and sight-see.
Indeed, walking is highly
recommended - a leisurely stroll will enable one to slowly drink in the many
details that would otherwise be lost in a hurried tour. If walking is considered
tiring, try a ride on the old but exciting trishaw.
Cheong Fatt Tze
(1840-1917), a Hakka from Tai Pu in the Teochew district, migrated to Java
in the 1850s where he prospered and moved his base to Penang in the early
1890s. A powerful Nanyang industrialist and a first-class Mandarin in the
Manchu government, he was made Consul-General in Singapore and economic advisor
to the Empress Dowager.
Cheong Fatt Tze had eight
wives and owned many residences throughout his trading empire but made Penang
his base, where he raised his six sons.
The Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion
was built over seven years from 1896 to 1904 by teams of master craftsmen
from China. This mansion is only one of three of its kind left outside China.
The mansion is the only stately Chinese-type dwelling representing the best
of 18th and 19th century Chinese architecture in the State.
It was acquired and
painstakingly restored to its original splendour by a group of conservationists
several years back. To visit, go to Leith Street which is off Lebuh Farquhar,
beside St. Xaviers Institution school.
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China Town on the island stretches
from Weld Quay to Lebuh Stewart, Lebuh Muntri, Lebuh Campbell and Lebuh King.
China Town is so large and well-preserved that you will sense and feel the
lifestyle of Chinese immigrant settlers who came here in the 1800s. Visitors
will be intrigued by the many clanhouses, shophouses and temples found along
these streets, which reflect the heritage left behind. Stepping into these
streets will certainly take you back in time.
clock tower was presented to Penang by local millionaire Cheah Chen Eok in
1897 to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria. It towers 60 feet
in high one foot for each year of Her Majesty's reign. The Queen had
died by the time the clock tower was finally completed in 1920.
Next to Fort
Cornwallis is the Esplanade, a popular waterfront promenade which stretches
from the hawker stalls at one end to the clock tower at the other. Central
in the Esplanade is the Padang, a huge square of town green. Standing proudly
beside is the City Hall, a stately colonial building which is a fine example
of British palladian architecture featuring magnificent Corinthian columns
and huge windows.
Fort Cornwallis is situated at the spot where Captain Francis Light was supposed
to have landed in 1786. Originally a wooden structure, the fort was rebuilt
between 1808 and 1810 with convict labour. It was named after Charles Marquis
Cornwallis, a distinguished Governor General of India, and designed to protect
the harbour from possible French attacks.
Today, much of the old fort
remains, but its precincts have been converted into a public park and an
open air theater. It is still guarded by old cannons, which were retrieved
by the British from pirates who had captured them from the Johore Sultanate.
The most famous of the cannons
is Seri Rambai, which dates back to 1613. Local beliefs have it that childless
women can become fertile by placing flowers in the barrel of the cannon and
offering special prayers.
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Tun Abdul Razak, a prominent Penang landmark, houses Government departments,
commercial offices, department stores, shops and restaurants. The 65-storey
complex also contains theaters, squash courts and a geodesic dome which serves
as a multi-purpose hall, while the 55th floor offers a panoramic view of
the city and on clear days, also of Gunung Jerai in kedah.
Museum and Art
Located at Lebuh
Farquhar, this newly-renovated museum is Malaysias most visited.
in the early 1880's, the shrine is a memorial to the Caliph, Syed Shahul
Hamid. Faithful devotees may be seen visiting the strine to seek favors on
you're one of those who cannot resist the allure of gold and the sparkle
of gems, you should sign up for a factory tour of OE, one of the most renowned
crafters of jewellery in the world. Learn how to care for your jewellwery
and watch craftsmen fashion gold, platinum and precious stones into award
winning works of wearable art. Click here for
P. Ramlee's Birthplace
Ramlee's house is located at Lot 2180, Jalan P. Ramlee, Penang. P. Ramlee
was born in this house which was built in 1926 by his father and uncle, Rejab
bih Hussein. The house was twice renovated by the latter once during
the Japanese Occupation and the other in 1948. The national Archives accquired
the house and carried out restoration works in 1991. The original form of
the house is still intact. Today, a small gallery stands next to Ramlee's
birthplace, displaying memorabilia of all kinds. Click
here for full story
Penang Islamic Museum,
development and public apathy has resulted in only a handful of the elegant
and historical homes of Penang Malays left standing. Two notable examples
are the Syed Alatas Mansion on Armenian Street and the Segara Ninda, home
of Ku Din Ku Meh, both good examples of upper-class Muslim residences of
the 19th century, incorporating an eclectic mix of European, Indian and Malay
cultural influences. Click here for full
former home of Ku Din Ku Meh
at No. 20 in upper Penang Road is another restored heritage home that once
belonged to a Ku Din Ku Meh, whose real name was Tengku Baharuddin bin Tengku
Meh. Click here for full story
The Proposed Dr Sun
date targeted for the completion of the museum is 2005. In the meantime,
the Sun Yat-Sen Research Centre is open to public by appointment only. It
serves as a nerve centre for planning and collecting information, records
and artifacts of Dr Sun Yat-Sen's six years involvement in Penang.
Click here for full story
For more information, contact
Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Museum Foundation Research Centre, 26 Lorong Susu, 10400
Penang. Tel/Fax: 604-2296188 or e-mail:
The Streets of George
although multicultural in composite, is predominantly Chinese and a big portion
of it is Chinatown - a noisy, crowded, delightful conglomeration of people,
goods, mobile stalls and old shophouses.
For the best of George Town,
walk along Love Lane, Pitt Street, King Street and Carnarvon Street. Certain
streets like Chulia Street and Campbell Street are best viewed in (Not Netscape)
the evening, when they burst to life with hawker stalls and nighttime activities.
Incidentally, some of the best hawker food are found on these two streets.
See also the Southern end of Penang Street for a taste of Little
India. Along this street are several banana leaf rice restaurants and
a Hindu temple.
For the best of colonial
architecture, see Beach Street and Light Street, where financial institutions
and chambers of the State Assembly are housed.
Click here for Johns
note on The Streets of George Town
War Museum, Batu Maung
If you want to know what
life was like in Penang during wartime, you'll find some of the answers at
the Penang War Museum. Housed in what was once a British fort built
during World War II, the museum is the only one of its kind in the
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The Penang War Museum
Lot 1350 Mukim 12, Merah Barat Daya, Batu Maung, 11960 Penang
Tel: 016-421 3606
Opened seven days a week (including public holidays), from 9:00am to 7:00pm.
Entrance fee is RM10 for adults and RM5 for children.