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Kuala Lumpur, the nationís capital city is a modern and fast moving
city. KL, as it is almost always called, leads the nation's fast
paced development in trade and commerce and is the pulse of the
nation. The city's strategic location near the heart of SE Asia,
along with excellent supporting infrastructure has made it a popular
venue for international events, conventions, and exhibitions.
This brief introduction provides the context for the Heritage Trails, which focus on pre-war buildings. Kuala Lumpur had its origins In the 1850s when the Malay Chief of Klang sent Chinese upriver to open new and larger tin mines. They landed at the confluence of Sungai Lumpur (now Gombak) and Sungal Klang and established mines at Ampang. Later, tin mines were opened at Pudu and Batu.
This trading post was a wild frontier town plagued by floods, fires, disease and the Selangor Civil War (1870-73). During this time, Kapitan Cina Yap Ah Loy emerged as a leader, responsible for the survival and growth of the town. In 1880. in view of its strategic location, the Selangor state capital was moved from Klang to Kuala Lumpur. Nothing of this earlier period remains as all structures were of wood and atap (thatch) which were destroyed in the fire and subsequent flood of 1881.
Thereafter, Frank Swettenham, the British Resident of Selangor who was Instrumental in the development of the town, required that buildings be constructed of brick and tile. The advent of the railway increased accessibility. The development of buildings intensified in the 1890s so that it warranted the establishment of the Sanitary Board. In 1896, Kuala Lumpur was chosen as the capital of the newly formed Federated Malay States.
The multiracial community of this period settled in various sections of town. Market Square, east of Sungai Klang, became the commercial centre for the whole town. The Chinese congregated around this Square and south into Chinatown. To the north, across Java Street (now Jalan Tun Perak). were the Malays. Nearby, a number of Indian Chettiars (money-lenders), and in later years Indian Muslim traders, set up business. West of The river, the Padang (now Merdeka Square) was the focal point or the British administration.
Kuala Lumpur continued to grow despite two World Wars. the rubber and tin commodity crash and the State of Emergency (1948-60) during which Malaya was preoccupied with the communist insurgency. In 1957, the Federation of Malaya gained its independence from British rule. Kuala Lumpur remained the capital through the formation of Malaysia, achieving city status in 1972, and was established as the Federal Territory in 1974.
Year Founded : 1857
Formerly Known as The Old Kuala Lumpur. The Old Kuala Lumpur was a typical "pioneer" town. Its inhabitants, the Chinese, congregated around Market Square - the town's main commercial centre. As the town expanded, it was renamed Chinatown.
Year Built : 1880
This temple, dedicated to Guan Yin, (Goddess of Mercy), was designed with a mixture of Chinese and European Baroque architecture embellished with lavish ornaments. Here one finds three statues - Saykamuni, The Lord Buddha, the South Sea Guan Yin and the Qian Shou Guan Yin (Thousand Hand Goddess of Mercy)
Year Built : 1906
A clan house, it look deceptively like a Chinese temple. Chinese Baroque architecture is evident with elements such as open courtyards and symmetrically organized pavilions. Commonly know as the Green Temple because of the striking ornate green tiles that form the roof (Kwang-Tung pottery styled roof).
Year Built : 1920
Built on the premises of the old guild hall of the Selangor & Federal Territory Laundry Association, the shop retains the original features such as the half entrance doors, stairway, framed feng-shui mirrors, porcelain dolls, portraits of the association's members, Chinese calligraphy, wooden locking devices, etc. The Cafe serves "Peranakan Food", a cuisine by descendants of early Chinese-Malay inter-marriages, culminating in a fascinating hybrid of traditions & culture.
Year Built : 1873
This building was originally constructed by Thmboosamy Pillai as a private shirine. Opened in the 1920s, itis the most elaborate Hindu temples with intricate carvings of Hindu silver chariot in Malaysia, the gopuram (tower) is the tallest structure here, a dramatis 23-meter high 5-tier pyramid-shaped gate tower decorated with depictions of Hindu Gods.
Year Built : 1888
This is one oldest temples with the finest traditional architectural features. Guan Di was China's greatest warrior and also know as Guan Yu. Devotees come to seek protection. Other deities in the temple include Guan Yin, Choy Sun (God of Prosperity) and Wen Chong (God of Education and Learning).
Petaling Streets, also called "Chee Cheong Kai" in Chinese. This areas has an excellent selection of restaurants and food stalls, serving Chinese cuisine and local favorites. Here you enjow local culture or grab a bite from the street vendors. The bazaar starts from 10am to late night.
Year Built : 1927
Located along Jalan Sultan, the facade of this three-storey Neo-Classical building incorporates fine lines and is surmounted by a curved baraque pediment with Chinese characters starting "Ming Dynasty". It has a medallion and balcony on the upper floor. Now a motel, all the furniture initially in is still in use today.
Note : This lane is famous for living heritage. Look out for 70-year-old Chinese barber shop. Tools, chairs and mirrors which were passed down by the founder are still in use!
Year Established : 1940
Founder : P.A.Thangayah, Ex. Chairman of Indian Barber Assc.
This barber shop is now run by the founder's son, Madhirajah. The four sets of stainless steel "Takara" chairs the were imported from Japan in 1966 by the owner are still in use.
These Shophouse is mixture of Dutch and Patrician (Roman) style architecture. Look out for "Tai Kwong" - the oldest hardware shop in Chinatown.
Note : The oldest pedestrian bridge, built in the 1960s, is in front of these shophouses.
Year Built : 1864
Yap Ah Loy - one of KL's founders built this temple. Designed according to Feng Shui, the temple was built in isolation. This is the best oldest Taoist temple in KL, and is declicated to Sin Sze Ya, the teo prophets who guided Yap Ah Loy to victory during the Selangor Civil War. A century old sedan chair is still displayed at the main entrance and used to perform religious processions. Till today, workers in the surrounding buildings are forbidden to forbidden to sit with their basks facing the backs facing the temple as to avoid bad Feng Shui.
Year Build : 1930
These shop-houses features Neo-Classical architecture. Those days they were occupied by shops selling coffee, anchovies, Chinese Medicine and Herbs. Currently, only two remain - Kwang Yeow Heng and Soon Hing Cheong who are still trading Chinese Herbs. The Oriental Bowl Restaurant cum Gallery still proudly showcases traditional Chinese medicine and herbs.
Formerly Know as : Kuala Lumpur's Wet Market
Year Built : 1888
Architect : R.H.Steed
Central Market was initially a gambling premise belonging to Yap Ah Loy. Sir Frank Swettenharm described as a very insecure was completed in 1883, and underwent 4 expansions from 1888 - 1993. Now it boats of distinguished features of 1930's Art Deco style buildings. It reopened in 1986 and has become the largest Malaysian arts and craft centre.
Kasturi Walk, A Covered Walkway of Exciting Kiosks and Eateries.
After Yap Ah Loy's Death in 1885, Sir rank Swettenham cleared this area to make way for a commercial and recreation center. The "Victorian Fountain" was installed here before being relocated to Merdeka Square. Market Square is notable for its stunning Dutch gables.
OCBC Clock Tower is a distinctive Art Deco architectural creation with motifs at the base. It was built to commemorate the coronation of England's King George VI in 1937. The Clock Tower is a distinctive was built by Loke Yew. It was designed by A.K.Moosdeen in 1906. The entryways have interesting wooden bars that serve as security doors and also provide ventilation.
Note : This is the site of the first permanent bridge in Kuala Lumpur Hotel (1883). This is where The Old Market Square crosses the Klang River.
In the past, there were five oil street lamps. On this street, many gold and pawn shops where and a few are still in business today. Many old signages and pillars written in Chinese, Malay, Indian and Jawi can be seen here.At the corner, you can find MS Ally, the oldest pharmacy in KL (over 100 years). Built by Yap Chin in 1907, it features Dutch style gables with peacock feather and waves on the triangular pediments.
Commercial Press at no.99 was founded by Yuen Ka Tseung. It was built in 1914 in Neo-Classical and Renaissance Style architecture. Currently, it is occupied by Krishnan Curry House.
Note : Yap Ah Loy played a big role in founding the first Chinese School in High Street, Kuala Lumpur, which opened on Chinese New Year in 1884.
Lebuh Ampang was once a "kittinghi", a traditional money lending establishment set up by the Nattukottai Chettiar, a community from South Indian and founders of modern banking in Malaysia. Lebuh Ampang has been taken over by restaurants and shops.
Formerly Know as : Oriental Building
Year Built : 1939
Architect : A.O.Coltman
This eight-storey Art Deco building was built to houswe the offices of Radio Malaya - the first national broadcasting station
Kuala Lumpur, the commercial hub of Malaysia, abounds with a vibrant blend of shopping, dining and entertainment opportunities for visitors. Shopping establishments display a wide range of goods rivaling that of major cities elsewhere while the local passion for food is evident in its numerous dining spots.
At dusk a whole spectrum of entertainment beckons fun-loves to a world of pulsating rhythms and flashing colors.Shopping in Kuala Lumpur promises variety, value and convenience. There is a bewildering range of shopping establishments catering for every taste and budget, which includes modern air-conditioned shopping malls, department stores, hypermarkets, shopping arcades, specialty stores, handicraft centers, duty-free shops, bazaars and night markets.
Among the items high on the shopping list of tourists are pewter, batik, duty-free items, electrical products, pret-a-porter attire, sportswear and handicrafts. A novel experience for overseas visitors is the night markets or 'pasar malam' which begin their trading activities in the late afternoon. These open-air markets feature hawker stalls that sell a variety of local produce, foodstuff, clothing and cakes, Haggling is a common practice. Street artists and traditional medicine vendors are an entertaining sight here.
The Shopping Carnival, an annual sale held in October/November in Kuala Lumpur and other major cities in Malaysia is an opportune time to pick up great bargains. There are several principal shopping precincts in the city. The most popular is the area bounded by Jalan Bukit Bintang, Jalan Sultan Ismail and Jalan Imbi in the vicinity of the hotel belt. Other popular areas are Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, Jalan Ampang, Jalan Cheng Lock, Petaling Street, Jalan H.S. Lee and Bangsar.
Copyright, Big Tree Tours Malaysia Sdn Bhd, 2012 Photography provided by Big Tree Tours Malaysia Sdn Bhd