Interesting heritage architecture of Balai Besar
Alor Setar in Kedah, a northern state in Peninsular Malaysia has interesting landmark architecture. Within the main street where converge many heritage structures: the Balai Nobat, Masjid Zahir, the state museum, among others, is the beautiful Balai Besar.
Balai Besar or the Royal Audience Hall is just one part of the palace complex known as the Istana Kota Setar. It was where state functions, royal weddings and the installation of two of Kedah’s sultans were held.
The original structure was built in 1735 with wooden floors, pillars and roof but due to the Bugis (1770) and later, the Siamese (1821) invasions, the building was rehabilitated by the state in 1896.
Balai Besar is lofty and its beautiful details and architecture are said to have Thai influence. The front serves as a portico and twin winding staircases leads to the upper hall. This part contrasts widely with the other palace structures at the back which are made of masonry and the styles call to mind the shophouse architecture prominent in the old districts of Singapore and Malaysia.
Hi! I’m Stan Cabigas, a freelance architecture and travel photographer, writer and blogger from the Philippines. TenZeroFour is my primary Architecture Photography blog. Let me photograph your space, let’s collaborate.
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