KUALA TERENGGANU: The iconic tourist spot of Bukit Puteri here, overlooking the Sungai Terengganu estuary, will be given a RM15 million facelift to make it one of the city’s top attractions.
To facilitate the renovation, Bukit Puteri, which encompasses the popular Bazaar Warisan, will be temporarily closed after a final cultural performance tomorrow. Other weekly traditional dances, promotional events and shopping activities will also cease by this weekend.
Tourism industry officials said that the hill will have its facilities, which include a stage for traditional dances and a viewing deck with a perspective of the South China Sea, closed to make way for an ultra-modern three-star resort hotel-cum-shopping arcade.
Kuala Terengganu City Council mayor Mohd Zulkifli Abu Bakar said that the redevelopment project will take up to two years to complete, after its commencement in July this year.
“This is part of the Terengganu New Transformation Plan to modernise the state capital. The plan includes the hotel, a food-court, and traditional handicraft and souvenir outlets at the Bazaar Warisan site.
“Much of the hilltop’s facilities will be retained to preserve historical sites like the lighthouse, view-point, cannons and the like,” he said.
It is learnt that China’s Amber Resources has won a 20-year contract, with an option for another five years, to manage and operate the all-new Bazaar Warisan, which will have a halal Chinese restaurant and an international food court.
Zulkifli added that all traders at Bazaar Warisan have been notified and preparations are underway to shift them to Dataran Shah Bandar, just a stone’s throw away.
Bukit Puteri, which is 200m high and located on a 0.69ha site, is situated near one of Terengganu's oldest palaces – Istana Maziah – the general post office and Pasar Payang, the city’s main market.
Pasar Payang itself will undergo a RM78 million facelift and its traders will also be moved to temporary sites at Dataran Shah Bandar.
Bukit Puteri was an important lookout point for enemies approaching from the sea during the reign of Sultan Mansur II (1831-1836), Sultan Muhamad I (1836-1839) and Sultan Umar (1839-1876).
Among the cannons found on the hill include the most famous Meriam Beranak, a set of two different-sized cannons.
An 18m flag pole was erected during the reign of Sultan Sulaiman Badrul Alam Shah, while a lighthouse still acts as a beacon to guide sailors.