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Historical Buildings


 The Astana

     The Astana, which lies in regal splendor across the river, is a majestic building with romantic history. The second Rajah, Charles Brooke, built this palace in 1870 as a bridal gift for his wife, the Ranee Margaret. Then known as the Government House, it is actually three separate buildings fused into one, with each connected to the other by short and narrow passageways. First occupied by Charles Brooke in 1870, it was the private residence of the second Rajah. It has undergone substantial alterations and renovations and is today the official residence of the Yang di-Pertua Negeri, the Governor of Sarawak.

 Fort Margherita

     Completed in 1879, Fort Margherita commands a breathtaking and strategic position along the Sarawak River, with a location chosen to overlook the long stretch of river approaching Kuching. Named after the second Rajah, Charles Brooke's wife, the Ranee Margaret, it was built in the defensive edifice/castle style of the late English renaissance. Fort Margherita has been converted into a Police Museum and many of its old cannons, cannon balls, guns, pistols, swords and other vestiges of its artillery can still be seen. The armory still exists as does the condemned prisoner's cell. The Police Museum has a display of old police weapons, reconstructed opium dens and scenes of hanging and other forms of criminal punishment.

 The Court House

     The Court House was built in 1874 to bring together all government offices and be the venue for all state ceremonies. State council meetings were held here from the fifth council meeting in 1878 until 1973. Befitting its status, this is an impressive building with belian (iron wood) roof and is decorated with beautiful engravings reflecting local art form. It now houses the High Court, the Magistrate's Court and several government departments. Back in 1847, this was originally the site of a missionary which was turned into a judicial administration office. It was demolished in 1858 and two more buildings were put up in its place before the Court House came into being.

 Square Tower

     Built in 1879 as a detention camp for prisoners, the Square Tower was later converted into a fortress and then a dance hall. Today it is a multimedia information centre and video theatre providing information on Sarawak's tourist attractions.

 Post Office

     This 1931 building stands out majestically with its imposing neo-classical style and impressive Corinthian columns. In contrast to its ornate facade with semi-circular arches, ornamental columns capitals and friezes, the back of the building is plain and unadorned. Deep parapet walls of plain design hide the pitched root. A colonnaded portico serves as a corridor in front of the building. This will soon be converted into the Sarawak Art Museum.