Malaysians love their holidays and Penang’s citizens are gifted with a public holiday every year in July to commemorate Georgetown's designation as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 2008.
|7 Jul||Sunday||Georgetown World Heritage City Day||Penang|
July 7th of 2019 marks exactly eleven years since George Town, together with Melaka, was awarded the status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Georgetown World Heritage Day is designated to honour the ancient heritage sites along with celebrating various cultures and allowing tourists to appreciate the city's famous buildings as well as landscapes.
The award placed a spotlight on the historic city of Georgetown, which has indirectly attracted more travellers to visit Penang. Georgetown represents British influences from the 18th century through most of its buildings where the town is rich with unique architectural cityscape. It is no surprise that Georgetown’s multi-ethnic heritage and ancient colonial influences have contributed to making it one of the many amazing World Heritage Sites within Southeast Asia.
In celebrating Georgetown World Heritage City Day, many activities focusing around historical and cultural events are held throughout the city. Different themes are selected every year for this community-centred festival and the event typically lasts for several days.
For example, last year’s celebration carried a theme of ‘Potential of the Past, in the Present, for the Future’, in which the celebration was mainly conducted to explore future potentials based on past experiences. Georgetown World Heritage festival usually includes crafts, festive foods, traditional games as well as sports for the enjoyments of both local and international tourists.
Apart from that, the festival also involves events highlighting the history of the city for its visitors. Many locals will offer to provide a series of guided visits to some of the major religious sites in Georgetown for the visitors to experience during Georgetown World Heritage Day. Among the famous religious sites within the magnificent city of Georgetown include the St George’s Church, Kapitan Keling Mosque, Dato Koyah shrine, and Nattukottai Chettiar Temple.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) designated the World Heritage status to the capital of Penang namely Georgetown as part of preserving the natural heritage sites that are present in the city. Established in 1945, UNESCO has been designating diverse places across the globe as World Heritage Sites in order to protect these intricate areas.
UNESCO believes that it is vital to ensure all heritage legacies to be passed on to future generations. The organisation identifies, protects and preserves cultural heritage sites around the world owning great values to the nation. By promoting cultural heritage and the equal dignity of all cultures, UNESCO can strengthen bonds among diverse civilisations across the globe.