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Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrOnce the world's tallest building, The Petronas Towers, named for its tenant, Petronas Oil, is probably the most renowned building of Asia, sometimes people recognizing them without knowing where Kuala Lumpur is. Though currently the sixth-tallest building in the world, the rooftop view is still maintaining it's rank at the top of the chart, and their unique shape and the fact that they are twins has maintained their rising popularity. The building has 88 stories and the identical towers, along with the bridge that connects them, represent the letter M for Malaysia. Their functional purpose is to host offices, but they were intended as a touristic attraction, and a symbol for Malaysian culture.
HistoryThe Petronas oil company was empowered by the Malaysian government to exploit the oil resources found in Malaysia, but 90% of the profit would still be gained by the government. Realizing the oil exploitation will deplete, the government decided to invest in something that would never deplete: tourism - also compensating for Petronas' income and exposure. The construction began in 1993, and the next year the largest cast of concrete in Malaysia was done here. It was finished in 1994, but it wasn't until two years later that the towers were covered in glass and steel. Until 2004, the towers were the highest buildings in the world, surpassed at the time by the Taipei 101 in Taipei.
ArchitectureThe architecture of the towers is not coincidental. As a combination between tradition and novelty, the jagged walls are inspired by Islamic motifs, and they represent the basket-weaving traditional of Malaysia. The concrete, glass, and steel structure gives a futuristic look and symbolize Malaysia's desire for progress and prosperity.
The building was designed by César Pelli , and the construction was very sophisticated, with a Japanese company building the western tower, while a South Korean company was responsible for the eastern one. The spires at the top are measured to be 240 feet, and they were also built in Japan and South Korea. Each of them took no less than 19 weeks to be built, and each weighs 176 tons. Their purpose is not solely to add to the height; they are set with aircraft warning lights and add an essential feature to the Islamic aspect of the building.
Shortly after construction began, the South Korean team were confronted with a strength test failure of a concrete batch, which put a halt into the construction. After demolishing the flawed batch, the team was demanded to test every single batch before pouring it. This halt cost $ 700,000 USD per day. The eastern tower was the first one to reach the sky and set the record, though not without a 25 millimeter lean. To fix this minor glitch, the next 16 floors had to be slanted back to compensate.
The Sky Bridge, connecting the buildings at floors 41 and 42, remains to be the highest sky bridge in the world, and it symbolizes Malaysia's gateway to the future. When high winds blow, it slides in and out of the main structure, as it is not incorporated in it, specifically, to prevent it from breaking, as well as adding structural support to the towers. Beside it, the observation deck at the top is what attracts most tourists as this is where you can admire Kuala Lumpur from 289 feet high. Below the towers, a shopping mall can be found, Suria KLCC and the home of the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra .
When to VisitThe towers are open all year, from Tuesday to Sunday between 9 AM and 9 PM. On Fridays, they are also closed between 1 PM to 2:30 PM. The tour lasts about one hour and the fees are RM 80 ($26) for an adult, and RM 30 ($9.60) for children. If your stay in Kuala Lumpur is short, it is best to book online in advance, because there are high chances you won't find tickets from one day to the next. While the view is breathtaking, a nighttime visit will offer an even more spectacular landscape. The last visit is at 8:15 PM.
How to Get ThereThe best option is to take the SkyTrain (LRT) to the KLCC station, on the Kelana Jaya line. If you prefer taxis, the white and red ones cost RM 3 ($0.96) for start up and RM 1 ($0.32) for ignition. The blue ones are RM 6 ($1.92)/ RM 2 ($0.64). Note that traffic may be the disadvantage of taking a cab.
Other FactsThe towers were featured in the film ‘Entrapment’ in 1999, the last part of the movie being shot inside them. The French parkourist, Alain “Spiderman” Robert, managed to climb the eastern tower all the way to the top without any kind of support in under two hours, after his previous two attempts had him arrested.
What Else to VisitIf you are in Kuala Lumpur looking for other attractions to visit, you shouldn't miss the Batu Caves, the Kuala Lumpur Tower, which offers a great panorama as well, the botanical garden, and last but not least, the National Mosque of Malaysia.
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Author: aelumag. Last updated: Jan 16, 2015