George Town (Georgetown) is the capital and largest city of the state of Penang, Malaysia. George Town is also the district capital of North East Penang Island district. Named after Britain's King George III, George Town is located on the north-east corner of Penang Island. The inner city has a population of 510,996, while the metropolitan area, also known as the George Town Conurbation, consists of Jelutong, Sungai Pinang, Sungai Nibong, Gelugor, Air Itam, Tanjung Bungah and Tanjung Tokong with a combined population of 2.5 million making it the second largest metropolitan area and the biggest northern metropolis in Malaysia.
The settlement was declared a city in 1957 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. In 2015, Penang island, on which George Town is located, was also awarded city status.
The inner city of George Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The enclave consists of colonial architecture built during the heyday of British rule over the Straits Settlements (Penang, Singapore and Malacca), mixed with Chinese shophouses, five foot ways and places of worship of various religions. George Town is awarded the UNESCO listing for its "unique architectural and cultural townscape without parallel anywhere in East and Southeast Asia".
George Town is also known as Tanjung ("The Cape") in Malay, Qiáozhì Shì (乔治市) in Chinese and ஜோர்ஜ் டவுன் (Georgetown) in Tamil. Its Malay name is derived from the older name of the town, Tanjung Penaga ("Cape Penaigre").
Unesco World Heritage Site:
On 7 July 2008, George Town was, together with Malacca, formally inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is officially recognised as having a unique architectural and cultural townscape without parallel anywhere in East and Southeast Asia.
Due to strict rent controls, George Town retains many of its colonial-era shophouses to this day and is often considered an architectural gem. Since the repeal of the rent controls in 2000, many pre-war buildings have given way to new high rises. Partly for this reason, the city was listed in the 2000 and 2002 World Monuments Watch by the World Monuments Fund (WMF). Heritage guidelines are still in its infancy and much needs to be done to conserve architectural treasures for the benefit of future generations. In 2005 WMF helped restore an 1870s structure within the George Town Historic Enclave, with support from American Express. The structure is used by the Penang Heritage Trust as a model to further its mission to protect the most significant buildings in the community.