ABOUT KOTA BHARU - THE HOST CITY



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Kota Bharu
Kota Bharu is a city in Malaysia that serves as the state capital and royal seat of Kelantan. It is also the name of the territory (jajahan) or district in which Kota Bharu City is situated. The name means 'new city' or 'new castle/fort' in Malay. Kota Bharu is situated in the northeastern part of Peninsular Malaysia, and lies near the mouth of theKelantan River at 6°8′N 102°15′E. The northeastern Malaysian city is close to the Thailand border.

Kota Bharu is home to many mosques, various museums, the unique architecture of the old royal palaces (still occupied by the sultan and sultanah and off-limits to visitors but viewable from outside) and former royal buildings (which can be visited) in the centre of town.
The City is served by Keretapi Tanah Melayu's East Coast Line at the nearby Wakaf Bharu Terminal Station, in the town of Wakaf Bharu across the Kelantan River and Sultan Ismail Petra Airport, located inPengkalan Chepa.

History
Kota Bharu was founded during the late 19th century. Before the establishment, Kota Bharu was home to Kelantan's Royal Palace, then established by Sultan Muhammad II of Kelantan in 1844 as Kelantan's state capital who wanted the new state capital built in his honour. Prior to this, Kota Bharu was known as Kuala Kelantan. Before Kota Bharu assumed the role, the Kelantanese capital was divided into two which were Kota Kubang Labu and Kota Pengkalan Datu. During the 19th century, Kelantan was a prosperous and populous state with a population of around 30,000 to 50,000 people including a thousand Chinese. Production from within the state include gold, tin ore, black pepper, areca nut, rice, rattan, bamboo, agarwood and songket. Kota Bharu acts as entrepot for goods due to its strategic location beside the Kelantan River. Pantai Sabak, about 10 km (6.2 mi) from Kota Bharu, was the initial landing point of the Japanese invasion forces on 8 December 1941 in their Malayan campaign, when they successfully engaged the British in jungle warfare and ultimately captured Singapore.

Demographics
The vast majority of Kota Bharu's population is ethnically Kelantanese Malay. The language spoken in Kota Bharu is Bahasa Melayu Kelantan, which is a dialect commonly referred to as "Kecek Kelate". There is also a fairly large Chinese, a minority Indian, Siamese and Orang Asli population within the city. The total population of Kota Bharu city as of 2010 is 314,964.

Religion
Kota Bharu city's population is 93% Muslim with the remainder consisting of Buddhists, Hindus and Christians. The indigenous people that reside in the city's outskirts are generally practicing Christians. The predominantly urban local Chinese community mainly practices Buddhism. The local state government is helmed by the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS), Kota Bharu was declared an Islamic City vis-à-vis Kota Bharu Bandaraya Islam. The Jawi script is used in street names and restaurants.

Government offices and many stores are closed on Fridays and Saturdays, but the vibrant markets remain open except during Islamic prayer times.

Culture
The Kelantanese culture is highly distinctive as compared to other state of Malaysia but also with some influences from Thailand due to its geographical proximity. The Chinese and Indians are much more assimilated to local culture than those in other parts of Malaysia. The food choices are diverse, tasty and more often than not, are sweet.

Food
Nasi berlauk, nasi dagang, nasi lemak and nasi kerabu are popular elements of the local cuisine. Sweet cakes, or kuih, are also popular amongst the Kelantanese. Other popular foods include nasi tumpang, etok, apom, akok,lompat tikam, netbak, pisang goreng, and curry puffs.

Climate
Kota Bharu features a tropical monsoon climate bordering on a tropical rainforest climate. Kota Bharu does not have a true dry season although the city experiences noticeably heavier rainfall from August through January. Also, Kota Bharu experiences slightly cooler temperatures between December and February than during the rest of the year, making it one of the most "seasonal" cities in Malaysia. The city sees on average about 2,600 millimetres (100 in) of precipitation annually.

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