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Sunday, June 08, 2008

An island's love affair with Great Britain

Sony Ericsson K800i


I apologize for the long delay. Been very busy with the 20th Architectural Workshop's preparation works and we only have a few hours left! Time's ticking away and we're all very nervous and thrilled. And the highly-anticipated UEFA Euro 2008! Now let's get to the story, shall we? ;)

George Town is so densely-packed that most streets here are narrow, winding, and crowded. This may pose a problem to drivers looking for a parking space but I somehow find this rather interesting as you can spot a lot of eateries and tourist hotspots along one stretch of road. The compact nature of this city makes you feel that George Town is hip and cosmopolitan and, at the same time, filled with old-world colonial charm.

Padang Kota Lama, George Town, Penang
Across this vast field stands 2 exquisite colonial-era buildings side by side ~ the Town Hall and the City Hall. Both were crown jewels of the British administration in Penang.

Not far away from the Fort Cornwallis lies the heart of Penang's administrative powers during the British colonial era. 1st to be seen is the butterscotch-coloured Town Hall. It's so well-preserved till I almost thought that I've stepped back in time! Besides, there's also a quaint little park next to the Town Hall with a 19th-century Victorian fountain as the centrepiece.

Town Hall, George Town, Penang

At the end of the lane stands the majestic City Hall. Possibly the loveliest and grandest of all British heritage buildings on the island, the City Hall was built in 1903 in the British Palladian architectural style. It's been listed as a national monument and is now home to the Municipal Council of Penang Island.

City Hall, George Town, Penang

You may assume that with these grand buildings here, the place will naturally be a magnet for tourists. Strangely, when I was there, there was barely a soul in sight! And it was not early morning or late evening, but 10AM! =.="

A Gothic statue supposedly representing justice was erected just opposite the Court Buildings

This imposing mansion found along the historic trail is now an institute for higher learning

Then we arrived at the Penang State Museum, a stately building which formerly housed the Penang Free School. The museum is home to a wide range of artefacts and cultural exhibits, and shares the same walls with the Penang Art Gallery.

Penang State Museum, George Town, Penang

Once we entered through the museum gates, we saw cars that were once used by the Governors being exhibited at the museum compound. Just in front of the entrance stands a large billboard telling the history of the museum's humble origins.

Check out those large headlamps!

Since we were required to pay a small fee for admission, we didn't go inside. We also didn't have much time to do so, thus we just wandered around its beautiful courtyard where multiple columns were erected in the Greco-Roman style.

And there was even a bathtub used to grow aquatic plants! This small quarter was like an oasis in this bustling city ~ peaceful and tranquil. Love it!

Esplanade, George Town, Penang
Popular among the locals for evening strolls, the Esplanade was the spot where Captain Francis Light 1st landed on the island.

to be continued...

If you happen to miss the previous part of my PENANG HERITAGE TRAIL travel series, do check this out...

PART I: Francis Light's footsteps: Penang's colonial legacy


Anonymous said...

ahahaha! no one? that's weird. i guess everyone's not very keen about history. :P i know i'm not!

kyh said...

5 chups!

Well, I'm just the opposite. I love places that are full of history and culture. ;)

Doreen said...

And I was wondering how long would it take and how much would it cost to have a house built just like the 2nd pic! *dreaming....*

The antique car, so cute!

day-dreamer said...

Your-page-getting-harder-and-harder-to-load CHUP.

Happy Sunday!

rainbow angeles said...

thanks for the wishes! whether i wat wat or not, is for me to know :p

good luck in your workshop!

L B said...

Love the bathtub!!

kyh said...

Doreen: 3 chups!

You can try building it with Lego! :P

day-dreamer: 1 chup!

Why is your broadband so lousy one? Or are you using dial-up? :P

rainbow angeles: I'll ask Brad... :P

L B: Me too!

Anonymous said...

You know I love history and culture and what a readable post - so well documented as well - thanks for sharing.

So much you can learn - from the good old time too you know :-)

Wishing you a wonderful Sunday and a great week ahead!

kyh said...

Thanks for your compliment! I'm glad you enjoy reading it! ;)

Wishing you a wonderful week ahead too!

khengsiong said...

I have been to Penang many times, but never really visited these places. Aside from Melaka, the island is the state with strongest colonial feel. I hope the government will not tear down these buildings out of nationalism.

In my hometown, the local government added an 'onion' to the colonial era clock tower :-(

Unknown said...

Great pictures you got there!

Like KhengSiong, I've never visited these places when I went to Penang... a pity really.

There're a number of British colonial buildings left in S'pore as well. A cluster of which was serving as the Parliament Houses until recently.

Looking forward to the next in the series and thanks for letting me know about this. Cheers!

kyh said...

khengsiong: I'd love to visit Malacca. Never been there before which is one of my biggest regrets. One day... *sighs*

I think it's very stupid to tear down colonial buildings out of nationalism. These guys have no respect for history! But I guess the heritage buildings will have a much better fate under DAP. ;)

C K: I especially love Singapore's Old Supreme Court Building! The dome on top of it is just so splendid. :)

You're welcome... Glad you enjoy the read!

eastcoastlife said...

Besides the yummy food, there are such beautiful buildings to see and pose for photos! :)

mistipurple said...

no wonder look like some of singapore's buildings for a moment.

kyh said...

eastcoastlife: True! ;)

mistipurple: Both Penang and Singapore were once part of the British Straits Settlements ma... :D

13th Panda said...

hmmm, interesting....i didn't see any statue when i went to Penang..maybe i should go again..AHHA

kyh said...

Come again then! ;)

Anonymous said...

Huge mansions, old cars... if it weren't for the palm trees, I'd have thought this was Great Britain!

Colonial heritages around the world are fascinating, especially when the country has regained full sovereignty. It looks out of place yet familiar...

kyh said...

Don't we all love colonial architecture? ;)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the visit in George town! You make me curious and I looked on wikipedia to know more about your land and George Town. The architecture is beautiful! Hope to visit one day this part of the world!

Chen said...

most people only come to Penang for food. I haven't take photos of those historical heritage trails yet, but i would love to do so one of these days...

Well... most of us don't take photos of our hometown or the places we live.

eastcoastlife said...

I want to see the Penang Nonya. When i go to Penang the next trip, not only am I gonna eat eat eat... I'm going to check out the Nonyas. :)

Mr. Goober said...

let me guesss....this is part of 20th Architectural Workshop's preparation??

:P exposure to real examples

kyh said...

claudie: Hope to see you here too! :D

Chen: Not everyone loves culture and history, but there's no person in this world who doesn't like food. Penang ain't bestowed the title of food haven for no reason.

But I gotta agree with your last statement. ;)

eastcoastlife: There's the Pinang Peranakan Mansion in George Town but we didn't get to visit it that day. Perhaps one day...

Mr. Goober: Partly true. I've longed for this trip since goodness knows when!