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Dataran Merdeka or Independence Square is located right at the heart of the colonial district of Old Kuala Lumpur. It was here at midnight on 31 August 1957 that the independence of Malaysia was proclaimed. The Union Flag was lowered and the Malayan flag was hoisted for the first time. What used to be the cricket green of the Selangor Club, it is currently the location of the independence celebration every year on August 31st.
The most notable feature of the square is the 95m flag pole, the tallest flag pole in the world. It is marked by a marble plaque located in the southern region of the square. It was the spot where the Union Jack was lowered, symbolizing of the end of British colonial era.
To the east of the square is the famous landmark of Kuala Lumpur, the Sultan Abdul Samad Building. Designed by Arthur Charles Alfred Norman in 1897, the building was a witness to many significant events in the history of Malaya. It currently hosts the office of the Ministry of Information, Communication and Culture of Malaysia.
To the west is the famous Royal Selangor Club Complex. It was built in 1884 and was used a meeting place for high-ranking members of the British colonial society. The Tudor-style timber structure remains as a symbol of British architecture during the colonial period.
To the south is the former National History Museum which used to house a vast collection of historical items. The collection has been moved to the National Museum located near Sentral Station.
To the north of the building is St. Mary’s Anglican Church, the current Diocese of West Malaysia and the see of the Bishop of West Malaysia. The foundation for the church was laid in 1894, designed by A.C Norman using traditional Gothic style, and stands as a testament to the religious tolerance in Malaysia. Christians currently account for nearly 10% of the population.
The Sanitary Board Foundation located in the south side of the square was ordered directly by England in 1897 to provide fresh drinking water to the people of Kuala Lumpur. Drinking that water today is not recommended because it is untreated.
The Independence Square is located right at the heart of the colonial district and is the centre of old Kuala Lumpur. For cultural and history enthusiasts, Dataran Merdeka is definitely a must-visit.
How to get there: Travellers can take the LRT Kelana Jaya Line or the Ampang Line and stop at the Masjid Jamek station. Dataran Merdeka is a 10-minute walk from the station.
Jalan Raja Laut, 50350 Kuala Lumpur