HERITAGE TRAILS IN KUCHING

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aSTANA

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old court house

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tua pek kong temple

ASTANA

The Astana, across river from the Kuching Waterfront, was built in 1870 by Charles Brooke as a bridal gift to his wife Margaret.  Laid out in the style of an English manor house, it is the third and last residence built by the Brooke Rajahs and was occupied by the reigning Rajah until the Japanese Occupation in 1941.   The Astana has occupied a significant place in the history of Sarawak; it was the venue for the various meetings of the General Council from 1873 to 1937.

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OLD COURT HOUSE

The Old Court House was built in 1871 as the seat of Sarawak’s government, replacing an earlier wooden court house built in 1847, and was used for this purpose as late as 1973, with all Council Negeri meetings being held there since the fifth meeting in 1878.  It is a superb collection of buildings, possibly influenced by Roman courthouse design, with magnificent belian (ironwood) roofs, massive columns enclosing outer galleries and beautiful detailing inside and out, reflecting local art forms.  The colonial-baroque Clock Tower was added in 1883.  The Old Courthouse has recently been transformed into a dedicated cultural and art space, with frequent exhibitions, concert and other activities.

TUA PEK KONG TEMPLE

Tua Pek Kong Temple– The Siew San Temple is popularly known as the Tua Pek Kong Temple after the name of its principal deity.  Although the name translates to “Bing Grand Uncle” in Hokkien, the deity is worshipped here by all dialectic groups.  The temple has existed on this site since 1770, undergoing major reconstruction in 1856, 1965, and 2002.  The site was carefully chosen, in accordance with feng shui principles, and it is believed the temple will bring peace, harmony and eternal prosperity to Kuching’s Chinese community.

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