The Cathedral of Assumption is sometimes referred to as the Church of Assumption and is situated along Farquhar Street in George Town (which is also written as Georgetown), Penang. This cathedral is one of the most popular places to visit in Penang due to its ability to attract a range of visitors.
Religious-minded visitors may consider visiting the Cathedral of Assumption for a Sunday mass or other religious event, while both religious and non-religious tourists enjoy admiring the building as a whole. At any given moment, it is not unusual to find some sort or restoration taking place on the building, but this only serves to preserve its beauty and architecture for future generations.
The Cathedral of Consumption is unique among the tourist attractions in Malaysia as it was the very first Roman Catholic Church to be built in the northern area of Malaysia. Additionally, it was the first British-built church within the country.
In addition to its unique status within Malaysia, this cathedral is also the oldest church within the state of Penang, making visiting it one of the more important things to do in Penang, particularly for those interested in the state’s history. It is also home to the only pipe-organ within the state.
The Cathedral of Assumption was built at the same time that Captain Francis Light landed in Penang as it was designed to accommodate the increasing number of Catholics living on the island. Captain Light officially founded the church in 1786. The church kept expanding as more people moved to Penang. The renovation in 1860 helped update the building to the general structure that is still seen today, which includes a building shaped like a cross that has two bell towers as well as a large altar. There were still more renovations in 1928, although the general layout of the building remained the same.
During the Japanese occupation of Penang in 1941, the church only had several masses. After the occupation ended in 1955, the Vatican officially decreed that the church was a cathedral, granting it official status.
If you plan to visit the Cathedral of Assumption, you will have two options. You can choose to attend one of the Sunday masses, at which the choir always sings hymns in English as well as Latin. The other option is to visit the cathedral during normal visiting hours, which will give you the opportunity to explore it and take photographs. Admission is free and you can visit the building from 11 am to 7 pm every day of the week, except Sunday.
The Cathedral of Assumption is easy to find as it is fairly close to the other popular places to visit in Malaysia found within George Town. Keep in mind that Sunday mass is usually packed so if you are attending you should get there early. As the church is part of the core zone of interesting places in Malaysia for tourists, it should be easy to find.
During your visit to the Cathedral of Assumption, remember to be respectful of the building, both for its history and its religious significance. If you visit during restoration, remain away from restricted areas that are in the process of being renovated as these improvements are essential for preserving the structure for locals and visitors alike.