Boasting a Mahometan or Neo-Saracenic style, this Sultan Abdul Samad Building is one of the most familiar Kuala Lumpur landmarks. Its pictures graces just about any travel destination write ups and brochure and this website is no difference. With its photogenic Moorish architectural exterior who wouldn’t resist taking lots of snapshot of this Sultan Abdul Samad Building?

This remarkable building was completed in 1897; it took about 3 years to build. It was designed by A.C Norman and the building was named after the State Ruler. The Sultan Abdul Samad Building served as the government administration building during British era. The original designs were actually based on the Renaissance architecture, but it was found to be unsuitable for the Malaysian climate. It was then redesigned with the Moorish architecture which was a marriage of European function and Islamic form. This style was pretty much adopted for many of Kuala Lumpur buildings constructed around that period.

Sultan Abdul Samad building


One of the interesting features of this building is the shiny copper dome and a 41.2m high clock tower. The clock tower is sometimes referred to as the mini “Big Ben Clock” of Malaysia because of its resemblance to the British famous clock tower in London! Other features include an imposing porch and graceful horseshoe-shape arches. Back in the old days, it was the largest building and considered one of the finest in Malaysia.

This building has seen many uses as a government administration office. One use which many travel sites never mentioned was the use of this building as the main post office. I still remembered in my school days when I joined the queue in the early mornings to purchase issuance of First Day Covers of philatelic stamps. I still have my stamp collections from those younger days. Later when the main post office shifted to Dayabumi Building, the Sultan Abdul Samad building was left vacant for awhile before it was used for courts room hearings and activities. The High Courts has since move over to Putrajaya and now they just have the commercial division of the High Court of Malaya as well as a handicraft centre.

This building has seen many historical happenings since its construction from 1897. It has survived the Second World War, and witnessed the lowering of the Union Jack on 31st Aug 1957. And of course every year come round midnight just before Merdeka Day, a gathering of people from various walks of life would come over to celebrate Independance Day at the stroke of Midnight. And the next day there would be colourful parades and marches celebrating Malaysia Merdeka Day!

And not to forget, this building also overlooked many a race and marathon events that are organized on Dataran Merdeka, the open green “padang” field right in front of the building.

For photographers, this is definitely one splendid building to capture on your digital camera. I myself have taken it many a times, but due to its wide berth, I have not found the best way to take that perfect shot of this building. At night, when this Kuala Lumpur landmark is illuminated, it provides for an impressive night photography!

Nearby KL landmarks

Getting There

The Sultan Abdul Samad Building is located at Dataran Merdeka on Jalan Raja, and easily reached with a 10 minutes short walk from the Masjid Jamek LRT station.

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