My first impression of Kuala Lumpur was that it is a modern city on the move, ready to rival other big modern Asian cities. As I dug a little deeper into the city over the next few days, I realised that is so much more than that. It is also a city that embraces its history, and there are plenty of historical sites to check out within its otherwise modern exterior. Merdeka Square is probably the most important historic site in Kuala Lumpur, as it is the Colonial heart of the city and also the site where Malaysia’s flag was raised for the first time after gaining its independence from the British.
Merdeka Square (Independence Square) was originally known as the “Padang” as it was the cricket field of the Selangor Club as far back as the late 19th century. The Selangor Club (now the Royal Selangor Club) was the place to be for members of the British Colonial Society.
Surrounding the square are some beautiful old Colonial buildings that used to be the administrative buildings for the British government. The Sultan Abdul Samad Building dominates the square, built in 1897 in the unique British Mogul Colonial architectural style. The Royal Selangor Club still exists basically as it always has been at the back of the cricket field. Other buildings now exist as museums, keeping Malaysia’s history and culture alive. Towering above everything is one of the tallest flag poles in the world, with the Malaysian flag blowing in the breeze high above the city.
During the day Merdeka Square is an interesting and popular place to visit, but night time brings on a new kind of beauty to the place. All lit up, the square and its surrounding buildings are a sight to see, plus you have the added benefit of cooler temperatures.
I recommend visiting Merdeka Square during the day to see museums, and also at night to enjoy this beautiful place all lit up. However you do it, a visit to Merdeka Square is a must in Kuala Lumpur.