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Carcosa Seri Negara

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Carcosa Seri Negara is historic government bungalow in Kuala Lumpur. It is located on a hillock above the Lake Gardens, today called Taman Tasik Perdana. It is used to house foreign dignitaries on their official visits to the country. The gardens and the hotel were the work of one person, Sir Frank Swettenham, the first Resident-General of the Federated Malay States.

Swettenham had arrived in the still undeveloped Malaya in 1888. At that time Kuala Lumpur was a flourishing tin mining settlement. He marked out an area of the jungle which was cleared and landscaped. A stream flowing through the area was turned into a lake. This was how Frank Swettenham transformed the jungle into the Lake Gardens.


Carcosa Seri Negara
Jalan Kebun Bunga
Tasik Perdana
50480 Kuala Lumpur

Carcosa Seri NegaraCarcosa Seri Negara
photo source
authorshipmulberry leaves Kuala Lumpur
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Location Map of Carcosa Seri Negara

On a hillock above the Lake Gardens, Swettenham built his official residence. Construction began in 1896 and in 1904, the bungalow called Carcosa - a name derived from the Italian cara cosa, meaning "dear place" - was ready for his occupancy. Carcosa is also the name of a fictitious city in the Ambrose Bierce short story, An Inhabitant of Carcosa (1891), which might also have inspired Swettenham with the name.

At about the same time that Carcosa was built, Swettenham also completed another building on an adjacent hillock. This he called King's House.

From the very start, Carcosa was the official residence of the highest British representative of the Federated Malay States. Seri Negara was a guest house used as the official residence of the Governor of the Straits Settlements whenever he comes over from Singapore.

During the Second World War, Carcosa was taken over by the Japanese Occupational Forces and turned into a Japanese Senior Officers' Army Mess. After the British takeover, it was used by the British Senior Officers until the appointment of a Chief Secretary. After Malaya gained independence, Carcosa became the official residence of the British High Commissioner, while King's House, now renamed Seri Negara, became the official guesthouse for the most important state visitors.

Carcosa became the official residence of Queen Elizabeth II during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in 1987. At that time, the two bungalow were administered together, and became known from then on as Carcosa Seri Negara. The transformation of the bungalows meant moving out the former drawing rooms and studies, replacing them with suites and banquet rooms.

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