Georgetown, the capital of the island Penang, is named after the British King George III. The city is located at the northeast side of the island and has, suburbs included, about 550.000 inhabitants. Over the years this first settlement evolved into a big city (in that time). In 1957 Georgetown got permission to be called a city and until 1972 it was the only city in Malaysia with this permission.
Today the city is a great example of the multicultural society in Malaysia. Many different nationalities live in Georgetown. The Chinese form the majority, something you can see clearly in daily life. When you’re in a taxi with a Malaysian driver, he will probably be talking about Chinese and Indian people. Vice versa a Chinese taxi driver will be talking about the Malaysian or Indian people. In many cases these conversations will not be that positive, but hey; for them it is a great way to let off some steam during a hard days work.
The city is characterized by the colonial architectures. The English influenced – during their colonial times – the construction of Georgetown very much. The city is not a modern metropolis like Kuala Lumpur; some quarters are fairly modern, others are old fashioned. You can compare Georgetown best to those typical and hectic Asian cities. You clearly sense that authentic Asian atmosphere. For that matter I think Georgetown resembles the Thai capital city of Bangkok over Kuala Lumpur in many ways.
Unesco World Heritage Site
Georgetown – together with Melaka – has developed over 500 years of trading and cultural exchanges between East and West in the Straits of Malacca. The influences of Asia and Europe have endowed this city with a specific multicultural heritage that is both tangible and intangible. Featuring many residential and commercial buildings, Georgetown represents the British era from the end of the 18th century, therefore validating outstanding cultural heritage. Because of this has Georgetown been listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site on the 7th of July 2008.