Merdeka Square, full of history!

Merdeka Square
Perhaps one of the more prominent historical spots, that most Malaysians hold dearest, is the iconic “Dataran Merdeka” or Independence Square.

You could argue that the nation was born here when Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra, the first prime minister of Malaysia, declared Malaysia independent from British colonial rule. It was here where the Union Jack was lowered for the last time in Malaysia and the Malaysian flag first flew.

When you visit Merdeka Square, you will notice the 100 meter high flag pole, the most significant feature of the square. It is also reputed to be the highest flag pole in the world and it was here at 12 midnight on 31st August 1957 that a nation was born.

Merdeka Square is more than just a place where the nation was born. It is a throwback to the colonial days when the British elites gathered here to socialize under more familiar surroundings. The Tudor style Royal Selangor Club House and its cricket pitch are all reminiscent of British high society of the time.

Merdeka Square

Surrounding the Square are numerous architectural treasures which the British left behind when they handed the country back over to Malaysia. The most impressive is the Sultan Abdul Samad Building. The two stories high Sultan Abdul Samad Building was designed by A.C Norman whose architectural thinking was very much influenced by what he saw in Africa and India. What he did was to take those styles and fused them together in his design for Kuala Lumpur (KL).

The result is what we see today, a neo Moorish inspired building amidst the towering skyscrapers of KL. The rows of overhanging arches never fail to impress me about the grandeur of this two storey building and I think you would be impressed as well.

The Sultan Abdul Samad Building is still being used today by the government to house the High Court of Malaysia. Like most buildings which adopted the North Indian architectural style, at both ends of the building, you will find a minaret capped with a copper onion shaped dome. However, nothing is more distinctive about the Sultan Abdul Samad building than the imposing 40 meters high clock tower standing in the middle also affectionately dubbed by the locals as “Big Ben”.

Beside the sultan Abdul Samad building, you will find the Textile Museum which is similar in architectural design. This was the former railway headquarters of the Federated Malays states and was designed by A.B Hubback.

Although similar in design to the Sultan Abdul Samad building, the minarets are octagonal in shape rather than round and are more detailed in design.

Merderka square is located near Jalan Sultan Hishamudin and just up the road from Central Market. Getting here is just a matter of taking a 10 minute walk from the Masjid Jamek LRT station. It can get blazing hot under the sun at Merdeka Square so make sure you wear something to protect yourself from the heat and bring a bottle of water to quench your thirst.

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