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Kota Baharu History, Malaysia


The word “Kota” is referring to town and “Kota Bharu” is considered as a new town. According to Kelantan history after the old capital Kota Lama or “Kota Saba” was destroyed by flood, Sultan Muhammad II of Kelantan established Kota Bharu as the capital of Kelantan in 1844 but some resident believe this place already been explore many years before that. Actually when Sultan Muhammad died on 1835, Long Jaafar has announced himself as Sultan Kelantan and Long Senik who supposed to be the right person to replaced Sultan Muhammad is not been selected. Sultan Muhammad has built a Palace in Kota Bharu and named it as “Istana Kota Bharu” but that name can’t last longer after it changed to “Istana Balai Besar” after got some confusing between the name of place and the Palace.

Kota Bharu was seized by Japan during World War II. Japanese Invasion Forces ever making Pantai Sabak as a landing point to entrance Malaya on December 8, 1941. Pantai Sabak is located about ten kilometers from Kota Bharu. Through Kota Bharu Japan’s Malayan Campaign successfully engaged the British in jungle warfare and also ultimately captured Singapore.

Today, Kota Bharu becomes the largest towns in the east cost of peninsular Malaysia with an  estimated population of more than 400,000 people.

On July 25th 1991 DYMM Al-Sultan Kelantan has announced Kota Bharu as “Culture Town”. After 15 years ruled by Islamic Party of Malaysia (PAS) Kota Bharu is at last declared as Islamic City.  

Starting from October 2005, the capital of Kelantan is known as “Kota Bharu an Islamic City” so for the people who first time came to this city please don’t get shock when you heard “azan” (prayer call for muslim) everywhere even in shopping malls because that is part of their Islamic laws.

Keep in mind that Government offices and many of the stores in Kota Bharu are closed on Fridays and Saturdays. However, the markets remain opens except during Islamic prayer times.

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