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Johor Bahru

Johor Bahru (also Johor Baru or Johore Baharu, but commonly called just JB) is a city in southern West Malaysia. It sits on the southern end of the Malay Peninsula and is separated from Singapore Island by the Johor Straight; the city is linked to Singapore via the 1km Johor-Singapore Causeway along which a railway and roadway run. Johor Bahru is the state capital of Johor State and was declared a city only in 1994. It was founded by Tememggong Ibrahim, the ruler of Johore and it was called Tanjung Puteri. or Iskandar Puteri in the Malay language, until being renamed Johore Bahru ('New Johore') in 1866, replacing Johore Lama ('Old Johore'), 29km (18 miles) east of here. As of 2010, Johor Bahru's population was just a fraction under half a million and it is Malaysia's second largest city.

Above: Downtown Johor Bahru

The city is a major regional transport and manufacturing hub and has for many years been a trade outlet for the products of the Malay Peninsula, and a major port of entry. Johor Bahru stands on low hills surrounded by estates producing rubber (which Malaysia is famous for), oil-palm and pineapple. The city could almost be described as a satellite of Singapore and in fact there is a proposed extension of the latter's Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) network to include this side of the causeway. The Malay dialect spoken in the Johor Bahru is considered the nation's standard.

The thumbnail gallery below shows some general photos of the downtown area and as can be seen in some shots (as of 2016, when the photos were taken) there are some major redevelopment projects being undertaken, so as a whole, the city gave the impression of being a work in progress.

Johor Bahru is not particularly part of the tourist-trail, although there are plenty of attractions to see here and as it develops further with the development of existing and new ones (such as the recently opened Legoland Malaysia), perhaps this rapidly growing city's reputation will change in this respect. The city is largely Chinese in character and some of the main sites include the Sultan Abu Bakar State Mosque (a state mosque constructed 1892-1900 which can accommodate 2,000 worshipers), the Broadway Theatre which is the oldest cinema in the city and mostly screens Tamil and Hindi movies (Photo 37, above), the Arulmigu Sri Rajakaliamman Hindu Temple at Jalan Ungku Puan (Photos 42, 44), Sri Raja Mariamman Hindu Temple, the Sultan Ibrahim Building, which used to house a number of government offices and the State Assembly (Photo 45), Bangunan Sultan Ismail (which is the meeting place for the Johor State Legislative Assembly), Masjid India, a mosque with two different minarets in the heart of the city (Photos 57-60), The Johor Bahru railway station which was replaced and transformed into a museum (Photos 76 & 77), Istana Bukit Serene (a palace which is the official residence of the Sultan of Johor), Dataran Bandaraya Johor Bahru (a city square 3km west of the Causeway), the Roman Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception, Roufo Old Chinese Temple, Gurdwara Sahib Johor Bahru, , Makam Diraja (a royal mausoleum of Johor state), the War Memorial, a public zoo and a colourful selection of art galleries and museums. For further information on Johor Bahru's attractions, see the references below.

References and Further Reading:

1. Johor Bahru and Malacca. Periplus Travel Maps. 2014. Print.
2. Malaysia Singapore & Brunei 13. Lonely Planet, 2016. Print.
3. Leffman, David et al. The Rough Guide To Malaysia, Singapore And Brunei. Rough Guides. 2015. Print.
4. Anczewska, Malgorzata et al. Insight Guides - Malaysia. London: APA Publications. Print.

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