Thursday, April 16, 2009

Unesco Sites (New)

Penang

Penang Teochew Association
The restored Penang Teochew Association located on Chulia Street is worth visiting. It won a Unesco Asia-Pacific Heritage Conservation Award 2006 after USD250,000 was spent on the restoration of this temple. Not to be missed also is the 200 year old Temple of Kuan Yin,on Lebuh Pitt(Jln Masjid Kapitan Keling). Built by the first Hokkien and Cantonese settlers in Penang, it is often filled with worshippers here. The Hainan Temple in Lebuh Muntri, completed in 1895 and remodeled in 1995 is worth visiting. There are dragon pillars and ornate carvings to be admired. There are also much activity going on in this functional heritage building.

Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion
Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion In Lebuh Leith is the highly recommended magnificent 38-room, 220-window Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion. It was commission by Cheong Fatt Tze, a local merchant-trader who was a rag-to-riches success story. Built in the 1880s, it is a rare surviving example of the grandiose architectural style preferred by wealthy overseas Chinese trying to imitate the opulence of the Ching dynasty. The building was restored recently with a cost of USD2 million and won top honours for the “Most Excellent” Unesco Conservation award 2000. Hourly tours run at 11am and 3pm Mon-Fri and 11am Sat-Sun. They have an excellent website too at www.cheongfatttzemansion.com.
Melaka
St Paul’s Church
It was built on top of Melaka Hill by a Portuguese nobleman Duarte Coelho in 1521 and was called the ‘Our Lady of the Hill’ before the Dutch renamed it St.Paul’s Church. The church was regularly visited by Basque priest St Francis Xavier. Following his death in China, the saint’s body was brought here to be buried. Nine months later it was transferred to Goa in India, where it remains today. In 1556 the church was enlarged to two storeys and a tower added to the front in 1590. The church was renamed following the Dutch takeover, but when the Dutch completed their own Christ Church at the base of the hill, it fell into disuse. The roofless church has been in ruins now for more that 150 years, but the setting is beautiful and in contains some interesting stone slabs inside. A marble statue of St Francis Xavier commemorates his interment here over 400 years ago. His statue was erected with his right arm missing, apparently to show that his body in Goa is still without the right arm. Back in 1614, the Pope had requested the right arm of St Francis to be severed from his corpse and sent to Rome. Although he had been dead for 62 years, blood was said to have gushed out of the arm. Immediately after St Francis was canonised a saint in 1622, what remained of the right arm in Rome was merely a skeleton, but the body in Goa remains intact except for the missing right arm. In 1952, the Bishop of Macau decided to put up a statue in front of St Paul's Church. A marble statue was ordered from Italy and was sculpted by the famous Italian sculptor, G Toni, and was ready for the fourth centenary celebrations on March 22, 1953.

Stadthuys & Christ Church Painted red, the Stadthuys was built between 1641 and 1660 and is believed to be the oldest Dutch building in the East. It features substantial solid doors and louvred windows; the port-red theme extends to the other building around the Town Square and the old clock tower. It is now the History & Ethnography Museum. Also within the Stadthuys is the Literature Museum. Stadthuys Admission RM2; 9am-6pm Sat-Thu. 9am-12.15pm & 2.45-6pm Friday. Christ Church in the Dutch square was built in 1753 by the Dutch. Its notable feature is the ceiling, whose beams, over 15m (16yd) long, were each made from a single tree. The handmade pews are original, dating back 200 years. Over the altar, there is a painting of the Last Supper on glazed tiles and on the floors are tombstones in Armenian script. The entrance is free but you may be politely asked to make a donation towards the upkeep of the church. Located at the dutch square is the Queen Victoria Diamond Jubilee fountain, completed in the year 1904.

Cheng Hoon Teng Temple (built 1645 onwards)
Cheng Hoon Teng temple was founded in 1645 by Lee Wei King and is the oldest functioning Chinese temple in Malaysia. The main hall was built by Chan Ki Lock in 1704 and was rebuilt in 1801 by Kapitan China Chua Su Cheong.

Nestled in a tight urban setting, the temple occupies 50,000 square feet. Inside the main hall on the central altar is a statue of Kuanyin, the goddess of Mercy. To her left is the Queen of the Oceans (Ma Choe Poh), the guardian of fishermen, sailors, and sea travelers. The final deity is Hiap Tian Tye Tai or Kuan Ti Yeh, the favorite deity of merchants and traders.

To the left of the main hall is an altar to Confucius. In the back are ancestral tablets of local Chinese and the "Kapitans China" of Melaka. "Kapitan China", which means "Captain of the Chinese" was a position created by the Portuguese to act as an administrator of the local Chinese community. Although the Portuguese are gone, the position remains. The founder of the temple, Li Wei King, was a Kapitan China and his portrait is enshrined in one of the back halls.

The temple was constructed by craftsmen using materials brought in from southern China.

Taken from http://www.malaysia-trulyasia.com/mta/unesco_malaysia.htm and http://www.orientalarchitecture.com/malaysia/

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