KL City Gallery : In And Around Kuala Lumpur Historical Site
I hate to admit this but, even though Kuala Lumpur is just a stone’s throw away from home, I have never really explored this city. Through layman eyes, Kuala Lumpur would seem like just another metropolitan city. But hidden beneath the hustle and bustle of rush hour, there are many details – if you get deeper into it – that would blow your mind.
For me, KL City Gallery and the buildings near its vicinity are the starting point of basic lessons on Kuala Lumpur. Come and take a walk with me to some of Kuala Lumpur’s historical legacy.
Our starting point: KL City Gallery
KL City Gallery
The “I ♥ KL” signage is not the only attraction you could find at KL City Gallery.
The building was built in 1899. The exterior is based on neo-Renaissance principle with plastered columns, exposed bricks and large semi-circular windows decorated with keystones. Instead of a large door as entrance there is only a simple door at the side. Canopy roofs were later added in the 1940’s to protect from the sun.
Step into the building, which is owned by ARCH Collection and you would be welcomed by a large map of Kuala Lumpur on one of its walls. Take a picture of the map for future reference, like I did. If not, there is always the free “KL Walks & Tours Map” in dual language (English and Chinese) for you to take too.
Move along to see some model buildings and history of Kuala Lumpur. Then walk to the other section where you can view photos or sculptures of present icons in Kuala Lumpur. Later, climb some stairs to experience interactive video and models of present and future Kuala Lumpur. What an educational tour at KL City Gallery!
The tour would end at the cafe, after you view the workshop on how laser-cut designs are made by ARCH
Enjoying tea time with delicious durian cake and authentic Teh Tarik at ARCH Cafe? How can anyone say no to that!
Opposite the KL City Gallery is the Dataran Merdeka (or Merdeka Square). Many historical events have been recorded here. Most importantly was when the Union Flag was lowered and the Malayan Flag was raised for the first time at midnight on 31st August 1957.
Now it is mostly used as a recreational place by the locals. You can usually find family with children playing football or blowing bubbles on the field in the weekends. Some couples would prefer to sit near the fountain at Independence Square.
More often than not, you would find people taking photos of Dataran Merdeka or the buildings nearby it.
Oh, don’t forget the 95-metres flagpole located near the southern part of the Square. It is one of the tallest flagpoles in the world, you know.
Next to KL City Gallery, along Jalan Raja, is the Music Museum. Formerly known as the National History Museum, it was refurbished last year and newly opened as the Music Museum.
Built in 1888, the architecture of the building is Mughal-influenced. There are arches on the blank wall facing Jalan Raja after the building was renovated. The arches are beautified by adding Kayu Belian into the corner domes.
Housing a variety of musical instruments, divided into ethnic groups such as Malay, Chinese, Indian, Original People, Sabahan and Sarawakian. You can enjoy live Malay Gamelan music on Sundays or busking performances in the evening.
On the opposite road from the Music Museum is the Textile Museum. Standing proudly at the corner of Jalan Sultan Hishamuddin, the Textile Museum is also another heritage building of Kuala Lumpur.
Built in 1896, the 2 1/2 story building is another Moghul-influenced architecture building. The architect was Arthur Benison Hubback; amongst other buildings he designed in Kuala Lumpur were the Sultan Abdul Samad Building, Panggung Bandaraya DBKL, Jamek Mosque and Kuala Lumpur Railway Station.
Before becoming the Textile Museum, the building was home to many government bodies and organizations including the High Ruling Court and Judiciary Gallery between 2001 and 2004.
There is a winding staircase outside the corridor that can take you from the top floor to the ground floor. And if you have the time, check out the windows too!
Sultan Abdul Samad Building
If you stand in front of the KL City Gallery, the Sultan Abdul Samad Building will be at your Northeast. This building is amongst Malaya’s earliest Moorish-style building. Named after the reigning sultan at the time, the building construction was completed in 1897.
Originally designed by A.C. Norman and R.A.J. Bidwell in a Classic Renaissance style but was later altered into Indo-Saracen design. The exterior and the dome-shaped tops of the tower is a clear indication of its influence.
Used to house the Superior Courts of Malaysia: the Federal Court, Court of Appeals and the High Court before they were moved to Putrajaya. Now it houses the offices of the Ministry of Information, Communications and Culture of Malaysia (Kementerian Penerangan, Komunikasi dan Kebudayaan Malaysia).
Panggung Bandaraya DBKL
Panggung Bandaraya DBKL (DBKL City Theatre) is the furthest building from KL City Gallery. Located across the Dataran Merdeka and at the junction of Jalan Tun Perak and Jalan Raja. On foot, it will take you about 3-5 minutes to walk from your starting point.
Classified as 1 of 22 heritage buildings in Kuala Lumpur, the theatre is one of the oldest theatres in Malaysia. Like all the other buildings near its proximity, the building is also Moorish-influenced. It was built for production stages such as musicals and plays.
In 1992, a major fire breakout destroyed the whole interior of the theatre. But City Hall’s designers restored and re-designed it back to its glory – with some added extras, like better sound system and better furnishings.
The theatre hosts many arts and culture performances including reality shows such as “Malaysian Idol” and “So You Think You Can Dance”. Currently, it is playing Malaysia’s longest running musical; “MUD KL”.
Latest updates on events or news related to Kuala Lumpur can be found at Tourism Malaysia KL. Thank you Tourism Malaysia KL!