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About Alor Setar

Alor Setar



Alor Setar, (Jawi: الور ستار; formerly Alor Star from 2004-2008) is the state capital of Kedah , Malaysia ; which is the second largest city in the state after Sungai Petani, Kedah (taking over the position in 2010) ; important cities in the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia . The city is home to the Central State Administration Centre and Administrative Centre Kota Setar District in the City of Muadzam Shah and Kedah the royal town of Bandar Anak Bukit.

Alor Setar is located 93 kilometres north of Penang and 45 km from Malaysia's border with Thailand. Its location along the main travel route from Malaysia to Thailand has long made it a major transportation hub in the northern Malay Peninsula. At present, the city covers a land area of 666 km2, which is occupied by more than 300,000 thousand inhabitants (as per the 2010 census). At the local government level, Alor Setar is administered by the Alor Setar City Council.

The city is served by the Sultan Abdul Halim Airport, which began operations in 2006. The airport is currently not serviced by any commercial international flights; however, during the Haj season, there are special flights available for Muslim pilgrims journeying to Saudi Arabia to perform the Haj. In terms of land routes, the city is connected to other parts of Peninsular Malaysia by the North-South Expressway, the Shahab Perdana Bus Station and the Alor Setar railway station. The city also boasts the Kuala Kedah Jetty, which is served by ferries linking the city with the popular resort island of Langkawi.

Alor Setar the birthplace of two Prime Ministers, YTM Tunku Abdul Rahman, Malaysia's first Prime Minister, and Tun Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad, Malaysia's fourth Prime Minister.



Alor Setar
View of the city and Masjid Zahir from Alor Setar Tower
View of the city and Masjid Zahir from Alor Setar Tower
Nickname(s): AS, Bandaraya Bertamadun
Alor Setar is located in Peninsular Malaysia
Alor Setar
Alor Setar
Location in Peninsular Malaysia
Alor Setar is located in Malaysia
Alor Setar
Alor Setar
Location in Malaysia
Coordinates: 6°7′N 100°22′E





Alor Setar was founded in 1735 by Kedah’s 19th Ruler, Sultan Muhammad Jiwa Zainal Adilin II and is the state’s eighth administrative centre since the establishment of the Kedah Sultanate in 1136. The earlier administrative centres were located in Kota Bukit Meriam, Kota Sungai Emas, Kota Siputeh, Kota Naga, Kota Sena, Kota Indera Kayangan and Kota Bukit Pinang. The name came from the combination of two Malay words which is "Alor" which mean ("small stream") and from the name of a tree "Setar" ("Bouea macrophylla Griff").

Significant events held here included the handing back of Perlis and Setul (now Satun) to Kedah by the Siamese in May 1897 (both provinces were separated from Kedah since 1821) and a 90-day festival from June to September 1904 to celebrate the wedding of the five children of Sultan Abdul Hamid Halim Shah.[citation needed]

Alor Setar had been officially granted as a city – the ninth in Malaysia, on 21 December 2003, during which the spelling of its name was officially changed to Alor Star from the prior Alor Setar. The proclamation ceremony to declare the Kedah capital a city was held at Dataran Tunku, Alor Setar. Among those present at the historic ceremony were the Kedah's Sultan Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu'adzam Shah and his consort Che' Puan Haminah Hamidun, the Raja Muda of Kedah and Raja Puan Muda (Heir Apparent of Kedah State and his consort), members of the Kedah royalty, parliament members and state exco members. The ceremony was also witnessed by civilians and tourists. The name was returned to Alor Setar on 15 January 2009.



Places of interest

Cultural sites


Balai Besar (Grand Audience Hall)

Initially the function of the building was as the Balai Rong Seri or Balai Penghadapan (audience hall), that was situated at the back area of the Kota Setar Palace complex (Istana Kota Setar). The original building was built in 1735 by HRH Sultan Muhammad Jiwa Zainal Adilin II, the 19th Sultan of Kedah. The pillars, roofs and floors were made of wood.


Two Kedah Sultans were officially installed at the Balai Besar:





Balai Nobat



Balai Nobat


This 18 metre-tall and 5 metre-wide three-tiered octagonal tower sole purpose is to keep all the royal musical instruments including the serunai (wooden flute), nafiri, gendang (drum) and gong, which is known as nobat.

Upon the official opening of the Alor Setar town in 1735 by HRH Sultan Muhammad Jiwa Zainal Adilin II, the 19th Sultan of Kedah), a number of early buildings had been completed including the Kota Setar Palace, the Balai Besar, the Balai Nobat and the State Mosque. The original design of the Balai Nobat could not be ascertained but certainly it was built using wood.

During the reign of HRH Sultan Ahmad Tajuddin Mukarram Shah, the 23rd Sultan of Kedah), the new Balai Nobat consisting of five-story building was built. The building was totally built of wood with zinc roofing. During the reign of the HRH Sultan Abdul Hamid Halim Shah, the 25th Sultan of Kedah), a new building was built using concrete and metal. The architecture is the same as the previous wooden building. The height was three-story and the dome at its apex represents the Islamic element such as those found on mosques. This new building was built in 1906.



Kedah State Art Gallery




The Tou Mu Kung Temple The Tou Mu Kung Temple (Chinese: 斗母宫) is a Taoist temple situated on Jalan Gangsa. Worshipping the Empress Registrar of Birth or Dou Mu (斗母) and Nine Emperor (九皇大帝) deities, the temple has both Taoist and Buddhist influences.



Kota Kuala Kedah (Kuala Kedah Fort)

Kota Kuala Kedah is the remains of a fort, which for centuries protected the Kuala Kedah Kingdom from naval attacks, on the bank of the Sungai Kedah (Kedah River).

Also known as Kota Kuala Bahang, the fort was originally constructed to provide protection against the Portuguese invaders. However, the fort had to stand againse attacks from the Achenese from Sumatra and the Bugis as well. The fort was rebuilt in 1771 and was completed nine years later.

Museums and Galleries


Muzium Negeri (State Museum) As a state museum, it houses a large collection of Kedah's historical, culture, and royal heritage. The collection includes early Chinese porcelain, artefacts from the archaeological excavations in Lembah Bujang (Bujang Valley) and a fabulous pokok bunga emas or 'gold tree' produced as a tribute to the Thais.

The museum is also a research centre which specialises on Kedah's cultural history. Before the present premises were built in 1936, the museum - officially opened by the then Kedah Mentri Besar Tan Sri Tunku Ismail Tunku Yahya (Tunku indera Setia), on 3 February 1957 - was located in the Balai Besar (Grand Hall).


Pusat Sains Negara (National Science Center) Located at Gunung Keriang next to the Alor Setar Aquatic Centre and Paddy Museum, the center is the first science center built in northern Malaysia region.


Muzium Padi Kedah (Paddy Museum) The museum is the first paddy museum in Malaysia, and the fourth to be opened in the world after Japan, Germany and the Philippines.

The museum showcases the rice cultivation process in Malaysia and displays the tools and equipment which are used in the trade over the years. Through beautiful murals, featuring the art work of 60 artists from North Korea, the history of rice cultivation in Malaysia is revealed.


Balai Seni Negeri (State Art Gallery) The Kedah State Art Gallery was set up with the objective of fostering interest in and an appreciation of art in the state. Its collection includes paintings, photographs, musical instruments and handicrafts.


Galeria Sultan Abdul Halim This building formerly was the Alor Setar High Court, before it was moved to Kompleks Mahkamah Alor Setar in Suka Menanti. This building is located at the junction of Jalan Putera, adjacent to the Balai Nobat. Initially, this building was the place for the existing Balai Seni. This building was built on Rabiulawal 1341 Hijrah equivalent to November 1922.




Muzium Diraja Kedah (Royal Kedah Museum)

This building which originated from the Kota Setar Palace is a wooden building that was built by HRH Sultan Muhammad Jiwa Zainal Adilin II, the 19th Sultan of Kedah), who was the founder of Alor Setar town in 1735. This building had undergone demolitions several times due to attacks by the Bugis (1770) and Siamese (1821).

The concrete building was completed during the reign of HRH Sultan Ahmad Tajuddin Mukarram Shah). His Royal Highness had once stayed in this palace with his queen, Wan Hajar Wan Ismail who was also known as "Mak Wan Besar". Therefore, this palace is also known as the "Mak Wan Besar Palace".

YTM Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra was also born adjacent to this palace (in the Pagoda building, which no longer exists today) on 8 February 1903 and grew up in this palace with his father the late HRH Sultan Abdul Hamid and his mother Mak Che Manjalara while they resided there.

This palace is also renowned as the "Pelamin Palace" after it was extended to include a pavilion and additional rooms, when HRH Sultan Abdul Hamid Halim Shah wanted to marry off his five princes and princesses. The grand wedding ceremony lasted for three months in 1904. After 1941, the palace was used as a school and an office for several organisations including the office for the St. John Ambulance and the Scout movements. On 25 July 1983, this palace was declared the "Kedah Royal Museum".




Menara Alor Setar, the state-of-the-art communication tower

Wednesday Market, Pekan Rabu

Pekan Rabu is located near the government offices in Alor Setar. Although the name literally means “Wednesday Market”, this market is open all week long, and sells a variety of items from tidbits to beautiful handicraft.

This is a popular spot amongst tourists and locals and is a source of pride for Kedahans. Even former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Bin Mohamad was once a trader at Pekan Rabu.


Alor Star Tower (Menara Alor Setar) 

Located in the heart of Alor Setar, this tower, standing at 165.5 metres tall is a prominent and modern landmark that signifies the rapid development in the state of Kedah. This landmark of the state of Kedah Darul Aman not only serves as a telecommunication tower, it is also a tourist attraction which offers the public to enjoy a breathtaking and panoramic view of the city of Alor Setar and its surrounding. The Alor Setar Tower also serves as a recreational centre for art and cultural activities, meeting room and 360' Revolving Restaurant.


Wan Mat Saman Canal


Wan Mat Saman Aqueduct is the longest aqueduct in Malaysia. It connects Kedah River in Alor Setar to Gurun at the south. This aqueduct was built to enable Kedah rice farmers to boost the state's rice production and through it, to enable Kedah to earn the nickname "Malaysia's rice bowl".


Tun Dr. Mahathir's Birthplace


Rumah Kelahiran Mahathir which provides an insight into the younger days of the fourth Prime Minister of Malaysia, from his school days to his success as a doctor. He was born in Alor Star on 20 December 1925 at No 18 Lorong Kilang Ais, off Jalan Pegawai. His home has since been designated as an historical building and it was restored by the National Archives in 1992.


Rumah Merdeka (Tunku Abdul Rahman Memorial)


Tunku Abdul Rahman was the first Prime Minister of Malaysia. This house view Tunku's collection and memorial.Now it was restored and owned by National Archives as a historical building.



Kedah Royal Mausoleum

The Kedah royal mausoleum is located in Langgar near the city.

Map of Alor Setar City

Istana Anak Bukit (Anak Bukit Palace)

Istana Anak Bukit main entrance



Istana Anak Bukit is the birthplace of Tuanku Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah, the current Sultan of Kedah. The palace served as the Sultan's royal palace. Sungai Anak Bukit which is situated behind the royal palace, flows through Alor Setar and is connected by Sungai Kedah (Kedah River) which flows until Kuala Kedah.

Places of worship

Masjid Zahir (Zahir State Mosque) is the state mosque of Kedah and enjoys a royal history and patronage. Built in 1912, its official opening ceremony was held on Friday, 15 October 1915 by the late HRH Sultan Abdul Hamid Halim Shah. The architecture of the mosque was inspired by the Azizi Mosque in Tanjung Pura,Langkat Sultanate (present-day North Sumatra).



Wat Nikrodharam is a significant Buddhist shrine in the city. It is located at Jalan Teluk Wan Jah, just next to the city's primary roundabout. Its architecture reflects strong Thai elements with minor Chinese motifs. It is also a sanctuary and an oasis in the city centre with trees and shades providing spiritual shelter to Buddhists from the city and abroad. Both Theravada and Mahayana Buddhist traditions are cherished here.



Shopping malls


Souq Al-Bukhary Souq Al-Bukhary is one of the most recently built malls in Alor Setar, Kedah. Souq Al-Bukhary employs Islamic motifs in its design with elements borrowed from Mughal as well as Moorish architectural styles. Souq Al-Bukhary consists of a three-story air conditioned mall with Giant Hypermarket.



Alor Star Mall The mall is located near North-South Expressway South Alor Setar EXIT. It is one of the hottest malls in Alor Setar, in which the anchor tenant is Pacific Store. In addition, the mall have some popular retails outlets and food & beverages tenants, the MBO cinema is held at 1st floor with 4 halls cineplex and "E-Box Karaoke Center" are the main entertainment attraction for the locals.



Star Parade Star Parade is the one of the major shopping complex in downtown of Alor Setar. It has Malaysia's very own Pacific Departmental Store.


City Plaza Alor Setar Located in the downtown and sitting together with Holiday Villa Hotel, the complex offers entertainment, shopping and food. It has restaurants, bowling alleys, arcade center, Cineplex and shops. It also sitting together with public amenities centre (UTC) Urban Transformation Centre Kedah.


Tesco There are 2 Tesco which are Tesco Mergong in Bandar Baru Mergong and Tesco Stargate in Bandar Stargate.


Aman Central Mall Aman Central is the largest and modern shopping mall in Alor Setar. The mall will have a supermarket, a major department store spread over four levels, a branded fashion retail, food and beverage outlets, a 36-lane bowling alley and 10 Halls cineplexes. The first Parkson and GSC will be the tenants of this mall and expect to be open at the mid of 2015. (Aman Central's Website)


Mydin Mall This hypermarket mall is located at Taman Saga, Jalan Alor Mengkudu. It is set to serve the housing and residential area of Alor Mengkudu.


Sentosa Plaza Sentosa Plaza is a shopping complex located in Jalan Putra and it specializing electronics and IT products. It offering various IT products and services from mobile, computing and repairs. Sentosa Plaza also serves like Low Yat Plazain Kuala Lumpur.


Aeon Big / Carrefour This is a type of hypermall which is combine between hypermarket and mall concept and located at Jalan Gangsa. It is one of the newest shopping mall opened at the end 2014.



C-Mart Alor Setar This hypermarket located at the former location of Sekolah Menengah St. Nicholas Convent, Jalan Tambang Badak. This is the first C-Mart in Alor Setar along with the tenant Subway (restaurant), Blackwood Coffee and more, it will be opening at January 2015.

In conclusion, hypermarket available in Alor Setar include Pacific, Tesco, Mydin, Giant, Aeon Big, C-Mart and Billion. There are also incoming malls such as AEON Mall Alor Star in Starcity.






SOURCE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alor_Setar


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