George Town, Penang has been awarded Heritage City status by UNESCO, together with Malacca, primarily on the ‘cultural townscape’ of the old colonial quarter within the inner city, a place that functioned as a multi-ethnic cradle and crossroads along the Malacca Straits for cultural and trading exchanges between the East and West for a period of over 500 years.
This goes beyond the often-touted distinction of George Town having the highest number of pre-war buildings, compared to any other urban center in Southeast Asia, as this (physical) attribute is subsumed under the ‘cultural landscape’ criteria that is the main awarding guideline for the recently acquired UNESCO status. It is difficult for a layman and new comer/tourist to visualize the border of the Core Zones.
The Core Zone
There is no physical identification to alert the people of the core zone; even we are standing at the core zone, a new comer or tourist may not aware he or she is standing inside the core zone, a UNESCO heritage site.
The original heritage zones in Inner city of Georgetown were divided into six areas. The six areas were categorized according to the most prevalent economic or cultural activities. They were:
*Seven street precinct
*Cultural precinct of Chulia Street and Love Lane
*Historical Commercial district of Little India
*Waterfront business financial district
*Mosque and clan house enclave
*Market and shopping district
The Heritage city is also divided into Core and Buffer Zones.
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The 4 Zone Border Lines
For easy reference for the visitors to Georgetown Heritage City. The Core Zone can be divided into 4 border line; where West Line and South Line are land lines; where North Line and East Line are sea lines. The area within the 4 North, East, Sourth and West Lines is the George Town UNESCO Heritage Core Zones.
The core zone boundary from the North, it start from North Beach, where the Core Zone West border line cut through the field of SXI. It separate the SXI field to Buffer Zone and Convent Light School to Core Zone.
Crossing the Farquhar Street, the North line follow the Love Lane. The Church of the Assumption, Argus Lane, Stewart Lane, which are all on the left of the line, are in the core zone. However , SXI, Shih Chung School, Carpenter's Guild, area on the right of the line, including Muntri Street are in the Buffer Zone.
The North Core Zone line then cross Chulia Street,which bisects the street into two zones. The part from Love Lane junction to Penang Road is Buffer Zone, the one from Love Lane to Beach Street is Core Zone. The line then go straight to Carnarvon Street until Campbell Street. The Campbell Street Market is in the Buffer Zone, Buckingham Street is in Core Zone.
From Campbell Street, the line continue along Carnarvon Street,At the junction of Carnavon Street with Kampung Kaka, the boundary makes a left turn into Kampung Kaka. Then it turns right into Kampung Kolam. The police station is at Buffer Zone, and The Penang Tourism Information Centre is in the Core Zone.
Now the boundary line runs along Carnavon Street, until it reach Carnarvon Lane, where it stopped. The Li Teik Siah is at Buffer Zone.
The South line start from Carnavon Street, at the cross road between Carnarvon Street, Kimberley Street and Carnarvon Lane. It turn eastward into Carnavon Lane (Lorong Carnavon)It goes to about 30 feet from the end of Carnavon Lane, then crosses over to Malay Street (Lebuh Melayu). It follows Malay Street in a southeast direction. Toh Aka Lane (Lorong Toh Aka) is in the core zone. Fish Lane (Lorong Ikan) is in the buffer zone.
The boundary line from Malay Street goes all the way and out into the sea, bisecting Beach Street (Lebuh Pantai). The Beach street on the left is in core zone, one on the right is in buffer zone. Following along the Gat Lebuh Melayu, crossing Victoria Street (Lebuh Victoria). The left is core zone and right is buffer zone. It then cross Weld Quay. The clan jetties north of Malay Street Ghaut (Gat Lebuh Melayu) is in the core zone, south of it, in the buffer zone.
The North Line
This is actually sea border. It follow the sea shore line from the Cap at Swettenham Pier to Convent Light Street School.
The East Line
It is also sea border. It follow the sea shore line from the Port Swettenham to the clan jetty. The clan jetties north of Malay Street Ghaut (Gat Lebuh Melayu) is in the core zone, south of it, in the buffer zone.