Penang Heritage Tip :: Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion

Address: 14 Lebuh Leith, Georgetown, 10200

Also called the Blue Mansion,The Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion is the “Winner of the UNESCO Conservation Award 2000 National Architecture Award for Conservation 1995.” Penang’s first high profile private restoration project. `The magic of the Mansion touches all who have worked on it or visited it’. Laid out according to geomantic principles, the Chinese courtyard Mansion encompasses 38 rooms, 5 courtyards, 7 staircases, 220 windows and is truly one of the treasures of Georgetown.

Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion is the late nineteenth century architectural legacy of the man dubbed the ‘Rockfeller of the East’ . Originally a penniless boy from China, Cheong Fatt Tze created a multinational conglomerate and went on to gain high standing in society in Penang.

Building History
Constructed over a seven year period between 1896 and 1904 by teams of master craftsmen from China, the majestic mansion of 38 rooms, five granite-paved courtyards, seven staircases and 220 windows was designed to reflect Cheong Fatt Tze’s stature and eclectic approach to life.

The mansion is one of three stately Chinese-style dwellings remaining outside of China, and is the only one in Southeast Asia. This building is particularly unusual, however. While it represents the best of eighteenth and nineteenth century Chinese architecture and is laid out according to Chinese geomantic principles and decorated with intricate carvings, chien nien and Chinese lattice-work, the courtyard-house also has an intriguing array of other influences. These include art nouveau stained glass, Gothic louvered windows, Stoke-on-Trent geometric floor tiles and Scottish cast-iron elements.

Cheong Fatt Tze lived in the mansion until his death in 1916, with three of his eight wives, his six sons and numerous daughters. In his will he stipulated that the house could not be sold until the death of his last son but because his sons had little money to maintain the house, it fell into ruin.

When Cheong Fatt Tze’s last son died in 1989, the house was put on the market. By this time it was in an extremely dilapidated state and faced the prospect of either demolition or eventual collapse. In 1990 it was sold to a small group of conservation-minded buyers, who, despite the derelict appearance of the building, recognized its heritage value and were charmed by its unique character.

Oscar-winning Indo-Chine filmed here.

Guarded Tour
Fully conducted guarded tours are on daily at 11AM and 3PM sharp with guides able to handle all historical and technical questions – duration 1 hour.

Admission: RM12/pax. Souvenir shop on site.

Photo gallery

Location Map

GPS Coordinates: 5°25’16.85″N 100°20’4.94″E Geotag Icon Show on map