Ancient sites of Perak The irreplaceable charm of history

Historical Heritage
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The impressive Kellie’s, a rare sight in Malaysia,
The impressive Kellie’s, a rare sight in Malaysia,

Compared to the other states, Perak is a place with a relatively large number of pre-war buildings. The number and variety of straits colonial and early old “Nanyang” buildings are comparable to those in Penang and Melaka, making Perak a great location for movie shooting. Many movies set in the early 20th century have been filmed here, including “Lust, Caution” starring Tony Leung and Tang Wei, and “After This Our Exile” starring Aaron Kwok.

Historical sites are not just about buildings, they are also a cultural heritage, a display room of ancient life, and an irreplaceable sense of history.

The traditional community of Perak and its unique culture brought about by its way of life and economies reflects the local traditions and outlook of life. It is an invaluable and irreplaceable legacy.

Sultan Idris Education University is the first education university in Malaysia.
Sultan Idris Education University is the first education university in Malaysia.

In Malaysia, there are two kinds of National Cultural Heritage:

  1. Tangible: Buildings with high historical value, landmarks, monuments, natural sites, archeological sites, cultural personalities, underwater cultural heritage;
  2. Non-tangible: Traditional customs, music, poems, arts, etc.

Currently, 79 locations and buildings in Perak have been gazetted as national cultural heritage sites protected by the National Heritage Act. There are many famous museums and monuments in Perak, each with its own glorious past and history.


Ipoh train station and city hall

Dubbed as the miniature version of Taj Mahal, the Ipoh train station is a combination of Victorian and Moorish architectures. There is a train hotel imparting nostalgic memories of the 1960s and 70s. Across the road from the train station is a large neoclassic building, the Ipoh City Hall. These two buildings bear witness to the glorious past of the city.


Birch Memorial Clock Tower

The walls of Birch Memorial Clock Tower are carved with images of personalities such as Buddha, Moses and Shakespeare, represent ing the different civilizations. Birch Memorial Clock Tower is located near the City Hall.


Kellie’s Castle

In 1915, English rubber planter William Killie Smith began the construction of Kellie’s Castle in Batu Gajah, but construction works stopped after his death. Today it is a spectacular unfinished castle.


Royal museum

Also known as Istana Kenangan, the Royal Museum of Kuala Kangsar is a unique building constructed without the use of a single nail. This Malay-styled wooden structure is an excellent place to learn about the history of the Perak Royalty. Kept in the museum are royal seals and historical photographs and materials of royalties and nobilities.


Perak Geological Museum

Built in 1957, the Geological Museum is located along Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah, with more than 600 mineral samples on display. In the museum’s rich collection are large numbers of impressive minerals, fossils, precious stones and other stone samples, sorted according to their chemical contents and structures.


Precious Cultural resource

The remain of “Perak Man” prehistoric human was found at Lenggong valley.
The remain of “Perak Man” prehistoric human was found at Lenggong valley.

8 buildings in the state of Perak are listed as national cultural heritage sites. They are the Malay College Kuala Kangsar, Istana Kenangan, Masjid Ubudiah, Sultan Idris Education University, Perak Museum, Taiping Gospel Hall, Taiping Jail and Teluk Intan Leaning Tower.

  1. Malay College Kuala Kangsar: Built in 1905, the college is dedicated to the training of Malay nobilities to serve in the government. Known as “the Eton of the East,” the college is considered a path of ascension in the Malay society. There are many notable figures among its alumni, such as the country’s second prime minister Tun Abdul Razak, former deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, former Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Hanif, and former Perak Menteri Besar Tan Sri Ramli.
  2. Istana Kenangan: Built in 1926, the building used to serve as the temporary residence of Sultan Iskandar Shah, Perak’s 30th sultan.
  3. Masjid Ubudiah: Built at the turn of 20th century, Masjid Ubudiah is the most prestigious and honored mosque in the town of Kuala Kangsar. Touted as the most beautiful mosque in the state, Masjid Ubudiah is a holy site that brings much pride to the Muslims. It was constructed by the 28th sultan of Perak Sultan Idris Murshidul Adzam Shahi.
  4. Sultan Idris Education University: Established in 1919, it is the first education university in Malaysia, and the oldest tertiary vocational school.
  5. Perak Museum: Built in 1883, Perak Museum is the oldest museum in the country with a rich collection of relics on zoology, prehistoric culture, economy and anthropology. The museum has a rich and precious collection of archeological treasures, such as ancient weapons, instruments, clothings and accessories used by the aborigines.
  6. Taiping Gospel Hall: The first Anglican Church in Malaysia. Built in 1886, this wooden structure is seen as one of Malaysia’s heritage sites.
  7. Taiping Jail: Malaysia’s first jail, police station, post office and teacher’s college were all started from Ngah Ibrahim’s Fort. It was the strongest fort in Perak. Originally a Malay-styled tall house, it was refurbished into a Victorian building by the colonizers.
  8. Teluk Intan Leaning Tower: Built in 1885, this 8-storey building is an octagonal Chinese pagoda. It was originally used as a water tower. From 1889 to 1895, Perak experienced severe floods, and the ground below the tower became mushy after being soaked in water for a long time, causing the tower to lean towards the town direction. Today, the leaning tower has been refurbished as a clock tower, and has become a landmark of Teluk Intan.
  9. World Heritage Site Lenggong Valley: It is considered one of the cradles of humanities. In 1991, Remains of ancient human “Perak Man” was discovered here. The location is divided into two regions and four archeological sites. There are open-air sites and cave sites, as well as Paleolithic tool making sites.