Georgetown is the capital of the state of Penang in Malaysia.It is 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 720,202 and the metropolitan area known as George Town Conurbation which consists of Penang Island, Seberang Prai, Kulim and Sungai Petani has a combined population of 2,292,394, making it the second largest metropolitan area in Malaysia.
George Town was founded on 11 August 1786 by Captain Francis Light, a trader for the British East India Company, as base for the company in the Malay States. He obtained the island of Penang from the Sultan of Kedah and built Fort Cornwallis on the north-eastern corner of the island. The fort became the nexus of a growing trading post and the island's population reached 12,000 by 1804.
Over the years this first settlement evolved into a big city (in that time). In 1957 Georgetown got permission to be called a city and until 1972 it was the only city in Malaysia with this permission. The city is characterized by the colonial architectures. The English influenced - during their colonial times - the construction of George Town very much. The city is not a modern metropolis like Kuala Lumpur; some quarters are fairly modern, others are old fashioned.
George Town - together with Melaka - has developed over 500 years of trading and cultural exchanges between East and West in the Straits of Malacca. The influences of Asia and Europe have endowed this city with a specific multicultural heritage that is both tangible and intangible. Featuring many residential and commercial buildings, Georgetown represents the British era from the end of the 18th century, therefore validating outstanding cultural heritage. Because of this has George Town been listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site on the 7th of July 2008.
The historic city of George Town has over 12,000 old buildings comprising of shophouses, churches, mosques, government offices and monuments. The core areas of the site encompass the historical sites of George Town, including the Lebuh Acheh historical enclave and sites such as the Lebuh Acheh Malay Mosque, Jalan Mesjid Kapitan Kling Mosque, the Goddess of Mercy Temple, Sri Mariamman Temple, Khoo Kongsi, St George's Church, Assumption Church, St Xavier's Institution, Convent Light Street, Little India, the museum and court building, the commercial area of Beach Street, Fort Cornwallis, Esplanade, City Hall, the clan jetties and the port areas.