Celebrating the 7th Year of UNESCO World Heritage Status for both Penang and Melaka

By Christina Kim - July 07, 2015

The 7th of July is probably just another date one marks off in the the calendar, but it is a historical one for the country of Malaysia as a whole for it is on this very day in the year 2008, two of our very own states famed for their historical sites and culture were awarded the prestigious UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Sister cities, Penang and Malacca are often linked by their close connection to the location on the Straits of Malacca and their position as trading ports back in their early days for the then lucrative East West trading activities taking place. Their strategic locations provided shelter to all these traveling traders passing by the region and this led to the rise of both these two as the important trading points back then.

Penang has declared the 7th of July as a state public holiday since the year 2010 to commemorate the significance of this event (though not Malacca) and state-wide celebrations take place around the island; especially in the inner city of George Town where the Heritage status stands.
Perhaps it was this very excitement which often led many to remember 7th of July as Penang being declared as a UNESCO Heritage Status. After all, not many would forget public holidays that they don't get to enjoy as a nation since it is only specific to the state (and there is every reason to resent them for that extra holiday - kidding).

Rightfully, both sister cities are granted the honorary title as UNESCO recognized World Heritage Sites; and titled rightfully as Melaka and Penang, Historic Cities of the Straits of Malacca.

Stadhuys in Melaka (Iconic Red Building from the Dutch)

KOMTAR in George Town, Penang (Iconic building named after our second Prime Minister; Kompleks Tun Abdul Razak)


It is indeed a proud moment for the people from both states and also Malaysians in general, for having two states earning the most coveted UNESCO World Heritage Site titles simultaneously.
They are the pride of the nation; with their rich background in history shown in their well-preserved historic sites and buildings in the state alongside modern development.
While both states are progressing differently in their own space, the winning criteria lies in the well-balanced mix of both the signs of the heydays with the modernization in both cities, complemented by the unique blend of cultures which form the diversity in the ethnicities of their local residents.

Owing their present day interesting mix of multi cultures to their earlier trading businesses, these two cities bear witnesses to a line of multi cultural living originating from various traditions and parts of East and West all in one place. These two port cities may start off as trading locations but they have also been the point for the co-existence and the meeting of various ethnicities and cultures from both East and West.

The intermarriages between the locals and the traders have led to the diversity in the ethnicities of the locals, creating new ethnic groups and enriching the local lifestyle.
The buildings, architectures, food, cultures and interfaith religions are living testimonials to that very fact and they attribute to the spectacular features owned by these two states which distinguish them from the others.

The fact that they have been preserved remains strong reminders of their notable and influential past to which they owe their present to, and these are the winning elements which landed them on the list along with other remarkable places around the world.

We are proud of you, Melaka and Penang and Happy 7th Anniversary as UNESCO World Heritage Sites! (To many more years to come~)



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