HONG KONG – Malaysia’s Melaka and George Town have been named as two of the eight new cultural sites added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List by The World Heritage Committee at a meeting held in Quebec City on July 7.
With over 500 years of trading and cultural exchanges between the East and
West, traces of Asian and European influences are well preserved in these two
historical cities in Malaysia.
Zaliha Zainuddin, director, Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board, Hong Kong
Office, said, “We are gratified to receive the honor and recognition from
UNESCO. The rich heritage in the Straits of Malacca and George Town is
indeed a gift. Together we celebrate the multicultural heritage that is both
tangible and intangible. We are proud to share our much-treasured heritage
with the world.”
Melaka, the capital of the Malaysian state of Malacca, is also known as the “historic city of Malaysia.” No historian has been able to pin-point the founding year of the city, estimating it was founded between 1376 and 1400. The government buildings, churches, squares and fortifications in Melaka demonstrate the early stages of history originating in the 15th-century Malay sultanate, as well as the Portuguese and Dutch periods beginning in the early 16th century. In Melaka, visitors step into a living exotic Asian treasure filled with European touches. Featuring residential and commercial buildings, George Town in Penang represented the British era from the end of the 18th century. George Town is not only influenced by Britain, the Chinese cultural heritage in the city is hard to be missed.
Today, Penang has the highest number of Malaysian Chinese in the country.
“Melaka, a quick 90-minute drive from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport,
is a famous sight-seeing destination well before UNESCO has named it as one
of the World Heritage sites,” said Zaliha Zainuddin. “The well-preserved
Chinese and European culture in George Town has also amazed many Hong
Kongers by its resemblance of Hong Kong in the 60s. I believe that this
honorable title endowed to us by UNESCO, together with the ease of access
from Hong Kong, Melaka and George Town is going to attract Hong Kong
travelers more than ever.”
The Straits of Malacca and George Town both constitute a unique architectural
and cultural townscape without parallel anywhere in East and Southeast Asia.
With these living treasures, Malaysia has once again caught the eyes of
Other sites in Malaysia already on the list include Gunung Mulu National Park
and Kinabalu Park.