Architecture in Malaysia
Malaysia is a mix of the modern world and a developing nation, a blend of Malay, Chinese, Indians and indigenous groups. With its investment in the high technology industries and moderate oil wealth, it has become one of the richer nations in Southeast Asia. Malaysia, for most visitors, presents a happy mix: there are high-tech infrastructure, history and culture.
Malaysia boasts a rich cultural heritage, from a huge variety of annual festivals and wonderful cuisines to traditional architecture and rural crafts. There’s astonishing natural beauty to take in too, including gorgeous beaches and some of the world’s oldest tropical rainforest. Its national parks are superb for trekking and wildlife-watching, and sometimes for cave exploration and river rafting.
Natural and Urban Landscape
Malaysian architecture, exemplified in its largest city of Kuala Lumpur, is a complex mix of elements including Islamic design, colonial control, and Asian traditions. Due to its humid island climate, Malaysia’s architecture often deals with mediating interior and exterior space.
As part of the Malay Archipelago, which stretches from Indonesia to the Philippines, Malaysia became an important port of call on the trade route between India and China, the two great markets of the early world, and later for the Portuguese, Dutch and British empires.
Religion and Architecture
Today, the dominant cultural force in the country is undoubtedly Islam, adopted by the Malays in the fourteenth century. But it’s the religious plurality – there are also sizeable Christian and Hindu minorities – that is so attractive, often providing surprising juxtapositions of mosques, temples and churches. Add the colour and verve of Chinese temples and street fairs, Indian festival days and everyday life in Malay kampungs (villages), and the indigenous traditions of Borneo, and it’s easy to see why visitors are drawn into this celebration of ethnic diversity; indeed, despite some issues, Malaysia has something to teach the rest of the world when it comes to building successful multicultural societies.
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Cities in Malaysia