"...A unique architectural and cultural townscape without parallel anywhere in East and Southeast Asia." - UNESCO on 7th July 2007
George Town - A Unesco World Heritage Site
On 7th July, 2007, George Town’s rich living heritage, culture and history were officially recognized when the World Heritage Committee in Quebec City, Canada, officially inscribed the city as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. George Town was acknowledged as having developed over 500 years of trading and cultural exchanges between East and West in the Straits of Malacca. The influences of Asia and Europe have endowed the town with a specific multicultural heritage. Featuring residential and commercial buildings, George Town represents the British era from the end of the 18th century.
The city of George Town, Penang has the largest cluster of pre-war buildings in South-East Asia. Penang's illustrious history of Asian migration and colonial influences has left behind some unique architecture which is still seen in George Town - Chinese clan houses, pre-war shophouses, temples and colonial buildings.
The best way to see Georgetown is to walk on the streets in the city. See the mix cultural heritage that is both Asian and European. It will take you through a cultural landscape that can only be found in Penang. Walk round the historical enclaves of Penang around Armenian Street, China Town, Queen Street, Lebuh Farquhar, Lebuh Leigh, etc and see some of these cultural and historical sites: Chinese Kongsi houses, Indian temples, museums, Fort Cornwallis.
George Town shows the world that its heritage buildings, art and culture can co-exist alongside modern development. The recognition by UNESCO created awareness from all levels and soon, Penang Heritage City will regain back its luster as the Pearl of the Orient. The place is so rich with history. Since Francis Light drew out the plan of the city, it had born witness to the rise and fall of governments as well as ruling parties. The recognition by UNESCO to acknowledge George Town as a heritage city means that the initial heritage core zone and buffer zone should be preserved from further development that would change the skyline of Penang Heritage City.
About Trang Road
Most people are probably not familiar with "Trang Road", however, mentioning "the road behind GAMA" will mostly ring a bell. Gama is one of the oldest supermarket in Georgetown. It is at the city centre, which is approximately fifty meters from Magazine Circus. Magazine Circus is the traffic junction in from of Komtar, where Magazine Road meets Penang Road. The name refers to a six-pointed roundabout that used to be there until the mid 20th century, Magazine Circus was the meeting point of six major roads in Georgetown, namely Penang Road, Gladestone Road, Magazine Road, Brick Kiln Road, Dato Keramat Road and Macalister Road. Today the roundabout / "Circus" has been replaced by a T-Junction.
Trang Road was named after the town of Trang in southern Thailand, which incidentally got its name after the Malay word "Terang", meaning "Bright". Trang town got its name from the flickering lights of lamps from the onshore settlers which were spotted by the early seafarers. It was an important tin producing town. Much of the tin was sent to Penang for smelting which was done at the factory located right at the end of Trang Road. That site, formerly known as Eastern Smelting, is now being occupied by the Penang Times Square development.
About Kampung Jawa Lama Road
Kampung Jawa Lama, also written Kampong Jawa Lama, name dates to the early 19th century, when there was a Javanese settlement in the area within walking distance of the Sungai Pinang River.
In the closing years of the 19th century the Kampung Jawa area underwent development when the Seng Kee Tin-smelting works was established there by Lee Chin Ho. Lee's tin-smelting works received unsmelted tin ore from his own tin mines in Gopeng as well as his fellow Chinese tin miners in Perak as well as from Phuket and Trang in Thailand.
When Seng Kee Tin-smelting works was made publicly listed, it was renamed the Eastern Smelting Company, and its tin ingots were stamped the acronym ESCOY. A sister company, the Eastern Shipping Company, managed the export of the smelted tin ingots. From the turn of the 20th century to the middle part of the same, rail carts transport tin from Swettenham Pier through the streets of George Town to the Eastern Smelting Company.
Today Kampung Jawa Lama is a minor road connecting Dato Kramat Road in the north to Jalan Timah in the south. It runs roughly parallel to Kampung Jawa Baru.