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British colonial Beauty in Kuala Lumpur

British colonial Beauty in Kuala Lumpur

In the 1850s tin was found in a small settlement, which eventually became known as ‘Kuala Lumpur’, literally meaning ‘muddy estuary’. Chinese immigrants came to work in the mines which caused tensions with the Malay rulers and led to a decade of violence and civil war. Apparently, there is a positive side to Colonialism, in that it was due to the interest in tin of the British and their implementation of law and order, that the town began to prosper.

Kuala Lumpur was appointed capital and gained important city status as banks, hotels, restaurants and the Chinese commercial district emerged. After early Chinese wooden settlements burned down in a major fire, the British insisted that the town was to be build in tile and brick. This gave birth to the construction of Chinese shophouses, that are a manifestation of the eclectic architecture of European and Chinese influences. Old Governmental and public structures expose a representative mix of British and Moghul designs. The town flourished under British rule and the high price for tin and later, rubber. Kuala Lumpur is one of the most traveled places in Malaysia in the twenty first century. Tourists traveling from all over the world love coming here since they can book a nice Kuala Lumpur hotel for a great price. Most hotels are close enough to their public transit which will make it easy for you to navigate through this beautiful restored city.

Once known as the nicest buildings in town. In my eyes, this still stands true today.

Photo of colonial times Kuala Lumpur

 

Looks like Europe. Another prosperous city, Georgetown, a World Heritage site today.

1890 picture Penang Malaysia

 

Coexistence of heritage buildings with modern high-rise in Kuala Lumpur.

Merdeka square Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

 

Merdeka Square was built by the British in 1884. It reflects the atmosphere of British homeland. The field was a popular venue for social activities and cricket. If you love ‘Where’s Wally?’ picture books as much as I do, play “Where’s Dasza?’ in this one.

Field at Merdeka square Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

 

Merdeka Square during colonial times.

Colonial times picture Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

 

There is a pavilion and Victorian fountain from 1897 with some art nouveau tile work.

Fountain at Merdeka square Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

 

Both are popular photo stops.

Pavilion Merdeka square Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

 

Gaining independence from British rule.

Independence prostest Kuala Lumpur

 

The Malaysian flag stands proud at Merdeka Square and was raised for the first time in 1957 to replace the Union Jack, signifying the end of colonialism.

Merdeka Square Kuala Lumpur

 

The flagpole rises 95 meters high. It reminds me a lot of the super tall flagpole and over-sized flag of the Arab revolt in Aqaba/Jordan, which we could even see on our visit to neighbouring Eilat in Israel.

Kuala Lumpur flagpole Malaysia Kuala Lumpur flagpole Malaysia

 

Posing in front of Sultan Abdul Samad Building, an enduring attraction amidst the constantly changing skyline.

Merdeka Square Kuala Lumpur

 

The Sultan Abdul Samad Building was the centre of British administration and features shiny copper domes and attractive arches. The highlight is the clock tower. Close to Merdeka Square was this surreal fountain. I wonder if Dali or Gaudi have passed Kuala Lumpur.

Sultan Abdul Samad Building Kuala Lumpur Malaysia Fountain Sculpture Merdeka square Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

 

Kuala Lumpur Railway station was constructed in 1892 by British architect Hubback. It cost the fortune of 23,000 Malaysian Ringgits and was equipped with British high-tech architecture. The station had a hall that opened into a small pavilion with a movable roof, a stylish Italian clock mounted on the roof and loads of decorative domed towers and (a lot of) curved entrances, which can be seen below.

KL Railway Station Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

 

The domes have been replaced, just as the glass top roof, which is a steel structure with corrugated iron today.

KL Railway Station Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

 

New age ‘improvements’ boast air condition and a snacks kiosk at the platform.

KL Railway Station Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

 

After a century has passed, wrapped high-tech has arrived at the station again.  To the right is the new tourist information hall. We tried out the thoroughly competent staff and enquired about a way to get to Melakka, a World Heritage town in Malaysia, which is unfortunately not frequented by trains at all. That left us with a two hour bus ride.

KL Railway Station Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

 

Old benches replaced by peculiar two seaters. Air-plane passenger seats have been largely underestimated in applicability. More innovations,  still foiled, in the right picture.

KL Railway Station Kuala Lumpur Malaysia KL Railway Station Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

 

Outside view of Kuala Lumpur Railway station.

KL Railway Station Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

 

Exterior and interior design.

KL Railway Station Kuala Lumpur Malaysia KL Railway Station Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

 

Impressive building opposite the train station, the Malay Railway headquarters.

KL Railway Station Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

 

Kuala Lumpur’s transition into the modern world has not been without regrets. Many historical buildings have been demolished and history sensitive areas are undergoing tremendous change. Shophouses make room for parking lots and city planning.

Modern buildings Kuala Lumpur Malaysia Modern buildings Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

 

Modernity meets heritage. There are also examples of neat conservation, such as the restored textile museum. The tall building to the right is Dayabumi Complex from the 80s, with Islamic arches, thoroughly pierced with patterns of eight-pointed stars, housing offices and a shopping arcade.

Textile Museum Kuala Lumpur Malaysia Dayabumi Complex Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

 

That was a lot of city strolling!

 

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