Th beauty of Penang is the confluence of cultures. Over the generation, people from different origins made Penang their home and with their effort to preserve the culture of their roots, buildings resembling the cultural identity were built, stories were shared and unity was formed for the sake of harmony. The ‘Street of Harmony’ constructed in the 18th century also known as Pitt Street stands as a testimony of Malaysia!
Featuring four major religious buildings stand solidly along this street are Goddess of Mercy Temple, Kapitan Keling Mosque, Sri Mariamman Temple and the St George’s Church. From the location of these buildings, it can be said that this was a place opened up for all the communities around the world and in today’s article we would like to guide through the streets and show you what you’ve been missing!
Street of Harmony
Walk along the streets “Where it all began”
It all began when Thai Catholics, Chinese Migrant workers, Indian Muslim Traders, and Armenians were on a quest to seek refuge from war and Penang was ideal for protection, business ventures, and a future. Standing side by side occupying the street for the last 180 years are the church, temple, and a mosque. A significant sight not to miss out!! If one is into architecture and untold stories behind every wall, be sure to check out these places as they’re open for public. Also, just a little heads up to dress up appropriately as a form of respect when visiting these places!
The street begins from the St.George Church run by Anglicans were built by British East India Company in 1819 and it’s known to be the oldest building in Penang. Built with a Greek architecture, the interior consist of a cool pastel blue with marble floors and outside the main building on the church grounds is a memorial to Sir Francis Light in the form of a Greek temple.
Opening Hours: 08:30 – 12:30 and 13:30 – 16:30 Tuesday – Saturday; open all day Sunday
Location: Jalan Lebuh Farquhar Type: Church Address: 1, Jalan Lebuh Farquhar, George Town.
Tel: +604 261 2739
Goddess of Mercy Temple
Along the way be greeted by a colorful Taoist temple of the Goddess of Mercy that’s a source of light to the street any time of the day which for a fact survived two world wars! Initially, this temple was built for the sea of the goddess to thank her for blessing the travelers during their journey on the sea. However, with a bigger population of the Hokkien and Cantonese clan dominating the area, Goddess of Mercy Guanyin replaced Goddess Mazu. During Chinese New Year believers flock around the temple to gain every blessing from Kuan Yin Ma for a healthy and prosperous year ahead.
For more similar architectures, there are various Chinese Mansions along the street engraved with calligraphy, painting of the ancient dynasty at every nook
Sri Maha Mariamman Temple
Migrating from the South of India, the oldest Hindu temple in Penang at the Street of Harmony shines diamonds and precious stones are part of its façade and it is a typical example of Hindu architecture, built in the south Indian Dravidian style. Since the area was filled with moneylenders, merchants, and laborers, their contribution was made into a small shrine far far away from home. Take a wander down the street and immerse in intoxicating sandalwood drifting out of the shine and the vibration from the devotees’ glee the street.
Kapitan Keling Mosque
The Kapitan Keling Mosque is designed on a curious mix of styles, combining colonial architecture with traditional Moorish arches, and its interior features a fantastic crystal chandelier and calligraphy panels. Built by the Indian Muslims primarily the head of the Indian Muslim community, Kapten Caudeer names the mosque after himself and Keling which was the origin of his birthplace.
At dawn, the white mosque glows orange against the setting sun offering one of the most spectacular views of mother nature and man-made building harmonizing 🙂
Address: 14, Jalan Buckingham, George Town, 10200 George Town, Pulau Pinang
And that’s a wrap on the Street of Harmony that is so rich with history and beauty evolved due to a multicultural society. We hope you enjoyed reading this article and visit these places as soon as you get the chance and we’d love to hear your adventures in the comment below 🙂
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