From the World Heritage inscription for Melaka and George Town, Historic Cities of the Straits of Malacca:
Melaka and George Town, Malaysia, are remarkable examples of historic colonial towns on the Straits of Malacca that demonstrate a succession of historical and cultural influences arising from their former function as trading ports linking East and West. These are the most complete surviving historic city centres on the Straits of Malacca with a multi-cultural living heritage originating from the trade routes from Great Britain and Europe through the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent and the Malay Archipelago to China. Both towns bear testimony to a living multi-cultural heritage and tradition of Asia, where the many religions and cultures met and coexisted. They reflect the coming together of cultural elements from the Malay Archipelago, India and China with those of Europe, to create a unique architecture, culture and townscape.
Melaka and George Town represent exceptional examples of multi-cultural trading towns in East and Southeast Asia, forged from the mercantile and exchanges of Malay, Chinese, and Indian cultures and three successive European colonial powers for almost 500 years, each with its imprints on the architecture and urban form, technology and monumental art. Both towns show different stages of development and the successive changes over a long span of time and are thus complementary.
George Town was designated a World Heritage site just a month before I arrived. There were still banners and signs all over the congratulating themselves on the accomplishment.
George Town was a former British trading city in Malaysia along with Melaka and Singapore. Many people have told me that George Town is what Singapore would look like today if it hadn’t become independent of Malaysia.
In addition to the European architecture, there is also a strong Chinese influence in the city, the remnant of Chinese traders who settled there.
View the complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Malaysia.
View the list of all of the UNESCO World Heritage sites I have visited on my travels.