Tuesday, July 8, 2008

George Town, Penang - UNESCO World Heritage Site! (photo-essay)

At long last: George Town, the capital of Penang, together with Malacca, has been added to the UNESCO World Heritage List! And the following is some of what UNESCO has to say about these newly inscribed UNESCO World Heritage Sites:-

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... 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.

Something that I hope one can get a sense of upon viewing the photos below along with
some other Penang photo-essays on this blog...

As the statue of Queen Victoria (which now stands
in the grounds of the Chinese Recreation Club)
provides mute testimony to, it used to be that Penang
was part of the British Empire over which,
it was proudly proclaimed, the sun never set

Even more strange as it may now seem,
it used to be that Penang was a part of British India
before being part of the British Straits Settlements,
then British Malaya, etc. -- and, latterly, Malaysia

This is not to say, of course, that there isn't
a discernible Indian (and Hindu) presence in Penang --
but, as the skull-capped gentleman in the picture is proof of,
these days, the Muslim and Malay presence is also strong

The Acheen Street Mosque -- a photo of which
was taken around Chinese New Year 2006

(hence the Chinese lanterns that also are in the picture!)

Chinese lanterns also figure in this photo
of a house up on Penang Hill that otherwise
might pass for an eminently English abode

In contrast, this Chinese temple that lies
near the foot of Penang Hill
looks more like
a structure that is more likely to be found in China

At the same time, this building on the corner of George Town's
Pitt Street (and yes, it's George after one of Britain's King Georges
and Pitt for one of its Prime Minister William Pitts!)
and Buckingham Street strikes me
as one that would be hard to find
elsewhere besides
an East-meets-West kind of place like Penang

Lastly but hopefully not least -- on Penang Road
are establishments with names and signboards

that give a good hint of Penang's multi-cultural
(and long may it stay that way!)


Glenn, kenixfan said...

Well, congratulations!

Is the weather there always that nice? The pics make it look very summery.

Now maybe the UN will designate DC's Georgetown as a world heritage site! LOL!

(I say that not having gone into Georgetown in years since all the good arthouse movie theaters closed along with the good record stores -- it's all upscale chains and franchises there now.)

YTSL said...

Hi Glenn --

The weather is hot all year round but not necessarily nice. Sometimes it can get too humid for my liking and other times just plain wet (like it now has been for a few days now in Hong Kong)!

And teehee re your George Town/Georgetown connection. Have you ever been to Georgetown, South Carolina? Believe it or not, I have! ;b

bibliobibuli said...

love your photos! they remind me of how very special penang is. happy ti has been recognised as a world heritage site

YTSL said...

Hi Sharon (bibliobibuli) --

Glad you like the photos -- and if you're wondering, yes, I'm still reading! ;b

Bengbeng said...

ystl, you make me home sick. it is gnawing at my innards. but Penang today is different from the Penang i used to know

YTSL said...

Hi bengbeng --

Well, you're closer to Penang than I currently am -- for, after all, while you're still in Malaysia, I'm actually over in Hong Kong! :)