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General Facts – Built Heritage

The built heritage of George Town includes public buildings, recreational spaces, monuments, religious buildings, bungalows, and most importantly shophouses.  Below is a list of building types found within George Town:

Types of Buildings

  1.  Shophouses;
  1. Mosques;
  1. Bungalows;
  1. Churches;
  1. Chinese temples;
  1. Hindu temples;
  1. Administration buildings;
  1. Commerce and trade buildings;
  1. Godowns and offices;
  1. Water villages (clan jetty); and
  1. Residential Blocks.

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Total Number of Buildings

Total Buildings

Historic City of George Town

(259.42 ha)

Core Zone

(109.38 ha)

Buffer Zone

(150.04 ha)






  • Building methods, skills and knowledge
  • Design elements
  • Streetscape and townscape
  • Building use and land use
  • Transmission systems


  • Single/Group of buildings
  • Monuments and structures
  • Public parks and gardens
  • Pathways and streets
  • Technical infrastructure
  • Documents and records
  • Human resource

Categorisation of Built Heritage

The buildings within the World Heritage Site (WHS) of George Town are categorized into four categories encompassing both conservation and compatible development. Below describes these categories and the number of identified buildings and sites within the WHS of George Town.


Number of Buildings and Sites

Category I
  • Buildings, monuments, objects and sites of exceptional interest;
  • Buildings and monuments declared /registered as ancient and gazetted under the National Heritage Act (2005)
  • To be conserved as original.
  • Repair to be carried out using authentic traditional ways of building methods and materials.


Category II Buildings, objects and sites of special interest that warrant every effort being made to preserve them.




Infill Existing empty land or temporary structure where compatible re-development is permitted.


Replacement Existing building without any significant value where sensitive re-development is permitted.




The shophouse constitute the majority of building form within the World Heritage Site with approximately more than 4,ooo units , with most buildings falling under Category II.

Source: George Town Historic Cities of the Straits of Malacca – SPECIAL AREA PLAN 2014