Armenian Street, George Town

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Coordinates: 5°24′53.08″N 100°20′17.2″E / 5.4147444°N 100.338111°E / 5.4147444; 100.338111

Armenian Street
Lebuh Armenian (Malay)
本头公巷 / 本頭公巷 (Simplified Chinese / Traditional Chinese)
打铜仔街 / 打銅仔街 (Simplified Chinese / Traditional Chinese)
ஆர்மேனியன் வீதி (Tamil)
Country Malaysia
State Penang
CityGeorge Town
Postal code
10200
Route information
Maintained by the Penang Island City Council
Existed1808–present
Major junctions
West endAcheen Street
East endBeach Street
LEBUH ARMENIAN
Armenian St10200 P. PINANG

TypeCultural
Criteriaii, iii, iv
Designated2008 (32nd session)
Part ofGeorge Town UNESCO Core Zone
Reference no.1223
RegionAsia-Pacific

Armenian Street is a narrow street within the city of George Town in Penang, Malaysia. Located within the city's UNESCO World Heritage Site, the road has gained popularity in recent years for its rich cultural offerings and street art.[1][2]

One of the handful of places in the world that was named after the nation-state of Armenia, Armenian Street was originally part of a Malay settlement. The subsequent influx of Armenians and Chinese helped to shape the street's multicultural character. Notably, Armenian Street was also the site of Sun Yat-sen's Penang conference, which ultimately contributed to the downfall of the Qing Empire in 1911.

'Children on a Bicycle' by Ernest Zacharevic.

Today, Armenian Street is home to the famous 'Children on a Bicycle' mural by Ernest Zacharevic and various other forms of street art, as well as Chinese clan houses, museums, and shophouses that sell antiques and souvenirs.[3][4]

The Sun Yat-sen Museum was launched in 2002 in honour of Sun Yat-sen, who planned the overthrow of the Qing Empire within this building.

History[edit]

Originally, Armenian Street was called Malay Lane, after a Malay settlement that used to exist around the area.[5] The Malay influences can still be seen to this day, particularly along the westernmost section of Armenian Street, where the Penang Islamic Museum is located.

By 1808, the street was renamed as Armenian Street due to the influx of Armenian traders who resided along the road. The Armenians went on to establish St. Gregory's Church within George Town in 1822, while the Sarkies Brothers founded the Eastern & Oriental Hotel in the 1880s. The Armenian presence was short-lived, however, as most of the Armenians had already left by the time the church was demolished in 1937.

The Chinese gradually took over most of Armenian Street around the mid 19th century and built clan houses, such as the Khoo Kongsi, within the vicinity of the road. Concurrently, Armenian Street became notorious for Chinese triad activities, with the Hokkien-dominated Khian Teik Society establishing itself along the road. As a result, Armenian Street witnessed heavy fighting during the 1867 Penang Riots, where the British authorities, reinforced with sepoys, built blockades and used force to quell the turf war between rival Chinese and Malay secret societies.

In 1910, Sun Yat-sen chaired the Penang conference within a townhouse at Armenian Street, during which he managed to raise $8,000 for revolutionary activities in China against the ruling Qing dynasty.[6] The townhouse has since been converted into the Sun Yat-sen Museum, which became one of the filming locations for the Chinese movie, Road to Dawn.

Landmarks[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Yeoh, Winnie. "Couple tells story behind Zacharevic's famous mural on Armenian Street - Nation | The Star Online". Retrieved 2017-02-17.
  2. ^ "Penang island swamped by holiday crowds - Community | The Star Online". www.thestar.com.my. Retrieved 2017-02-17.
  3. ^ "Lebuh Armenian". Time Out Penang. Retrieved 2017-02-17.
  4. ^ Eckhardt, Robyn (2012-02-09). "36 Hours: Penang, Malaysia". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-02-17.
  5. ^ Khoo, Salma Nasution (2007). Streets of George Town, Penang. Penang, Malaysia: Areca Books. ISBN 9789839886009.
  6. ^ "Dr Sun Yat Sen: A revolutionist who will forever be remembered". www.thesundaily.my. Retrieved 2017-02-17.