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11 must visit historical sites in Kuala Lumpur

Sultan Abdul Samad Building built in 1894./Sin Chew Daily

Publication Date : 17-01-2014


Within modern Kuala Lumpur lie many fascinating age-old historical architecture


Have you ever counted how many attractions can be found around Dataran Merdeka in Kuala Lumpur?

The answer is 10 historical buildings and a cultural site.

The 10 historical buildings are: the Kuala Lumpur City Library, Sultan Abdul Samad Building, City Theatre, Kuala Lumpur City Gallery, Royal Selangor Club, Victorian Fountain, the Cathedral of St.Mary, Former High Court Building, Restoran Warisan, and National Textile Museum. Meanwhile, Dataran Merdeka is a cultural site.

If we rank them according to their "ages", the Royal Selangor Club built in 1884 should top the list with the longest history.

Some of these 11 historical attractions have been listed as national heritage (Warisan Kebangsaan) by the National Archives, including the Tapak Tiang Bendera Malaysia (National Flag Pole Base) where the Jalur Gemilang (Malaysian flag) was first raised, Dataran Merdeka, Sultan Abdul Samad Building and the Cathedral of St.Mary.

Many people might not know that a free guided tour is available since December 15 last year every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday from 9:15am to 11:45am.

I joined the two-and-a-half-hour tour guided by Jane, an English-speaking professional tour guide with 23 years of experience in the field.

Dataran Merdeka

The field was formerly owned by the Royal Selangor Club before it was taken back by the Kuala Lumpur City Hall in 1987. Dataran Merdeka is where the national flag of Malaysia, called Jalur Merdeka at the time, was first raised on Aug 31, 1957.

Kuala Lumpur City Library, 1989

It was moved to the current location in 2003 and is managed by the Kuala Lumpur City Council (DBKL). Its has a unique curved architectural structure. Write-in application is required for schools interested in getting free tour guide services.

Sultan Abdul Samad Building, 1894

The ancient building a combination of Indian and Arabic architectural designs, with a golden hemispherical dome on top of the clock tower. It was jointly designed by famous British architects A.C Norman and R.A.J Bidwell, and was built between 1894 and 1897. The building is a major landmark in Kuala Lumpur and was built to serve as the headquarters of the British colonial government. It then housed the Federal Secretariat of the then-Federated Malay States in 1897 and later, the superior courts of the country.

There is a 40-metre tall clock tower, which is reminiscent of London's Big Ben and thus, it is also known as the Big Ben of Malaysia.

City Theatre, 1896

The City Theatre, built between 1896 and 1904, is located at the junction of Jalan Tun Perak and Jalan Raja and has also received national heritage status.

The building was designed by architect Arthur Benison Hubback, who also designed the Kuala Lumpur Railway Station, Masjid Jamek and other buildings in Kalang Valley during the British colonial era. The building houses a classical Moorish-style opera house.

Kuala Lumpur City Gallery, 1898

The building, designed by A.C Norman, is 115 years old and currently houses the longest mini model of Dataran Merdeka. It is a place that must not be missed by those who are interested in learning about the history and development of Kuala Lumpur.

Royal Selangor Club, 1884

The Tudor-style building was built by British colonial rulers and is furnished with many portraits and profiles of historical figures. Today it is home to some high-end Chinese and Western restaurants.

Victorian Fountain, 1904

The fountain was named after Queen Victoria of England and its main attraction is its unique design. It was shipped directly from England and assembled in Kuala Lumpur in 1904.

The Cathedral of St.Mary, 1894

Built in 1895, it is the first church in the era of the Federated Malay States, as well as the oldest English church in the country.

Former High Court Building, 1909

The Moorish-style two-storey building with four towers was built in 1909 by A.C. Norman.

Restoran Warisan, 1919

Located opposite the Kuala Lumpur Land and Mineral Directors Office, the building was also designed by A.C. Norman. Originally home to the Standard Chartered Bank, it was renovated and turned into a restaurant in 2007.

National Textile Museum, 1905

The two-storey building was designed by architect H.B Hubback. It was formerly a railway station, but now serves as an exhibition hall of textiles of various racial and ethnic groups in Malaysia, including process of making batik and songket.


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