Friday, March 25, 2011

The Menara KL and other Observation Towers on Stamps

I have never visited the Tower of Juche, nor am I planning to visit the place. I also have no desire to cross the demilitarized zone between South Korea and North Korea, although I have contemplated the thought when I was there twice. But this tower interest me, because North Korea issued a stamp in the nineties with its flag and national anthem score featured on it. Various attempts to avail of this stamp was an exercise in futility. Until now, I still don't have the stamp, so I you have it, please email me or give me a call.

I have however recently visited four observation Towers- the Coit Tower in San Francisco, California, the Menara Tower in Kuala Lumpur, the Macau Tower in China and the N Seoul Tower in South Korea. The Coit Tower is located in Pioneer Hill in San Francisco, California and built in 1933 at the bequest of socialite Lilly Hitchcock Coit. The art deco tower, made of unpainted reinforced concrete, was designed by architects Arthur Brown, Jr. and Henry Howard, with murals by 26 different artists and numerous assistants. Although it is also a monument to honor the firefighters of San Francisco, particularly the Knickerbocker Engine Company Number 5, the tower was not designed to resemble a fire hose nozzle.

The Kuala Lumpur Tower (officially known as Menara Kuala Lumpur; referred later as KL Tower) is a tall tower located in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It took us one full minute to go from bottom to top in an elevator. Its construction was finished in 1995 and is used for communication purposes. It has an antenna that reaches 421 m (1,381 ft), which currently makes it the second tallest freestanding tower in the world. The roof of the pod is at 335 m (1,099 ft). The rest of the tower below has a stairwell and an elevator to reach the upper area, which also contains a revolving restaurant, providing diners a panoramic view of the city. Races are organized yearly where participants race up the stairs to the top. The tower also acts as the Islamic falak observatory to observe the crescent moon which marks the beginning of Muslim month of Ramadhan, Syawal, and Zulhijjah, to celebrate fasting month of Ramadhan, Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Aidiladha. The tower is the landmark of Kuala Lumpur with nearby Petronas Towers.

The Macau Tower, also known as Macau Sky Tower, is a tower located in the former Portuguese colony of Macau, now a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China. The tower measures 338 m (1,109 ft) in height from ground level to the highest point. An observation deck with panoramic views, restaurants, theaters, shopping malls and the Skywalk X, a thrilling walking tour around the outer rim. It offers the best view of Macau and in recent years has been used for a variety of adventurous activities. At 233 meters, the Macau Tower's tethered "skyjump" and Bungee jump by world renowned AJ Hackett from the tower's outer rim, is the second highest commercial bungee jump in the world, after Vegas' Stratosphere skyjump at 260 meters . The tower was created by the architecture firm of Craig Craig Moller. The tower is one of the members of the World Federation of Great Towers. Besides being used for observation and entertainment, the tower is also used for telecommunications and broadcasting.

N Seoul Tower is a communication and observation tower located in Namsan Mountain, central Seoul, South Korea. Built in 1969, and opened to the public in 1980, the tower has been a symbol of Seoul and measures 236.7 m (777 ft) in height (from the base) and tops out at 479.7 m (1,574 ft) above sea level. It has also been known as the Namsan Tower or Seoul Tower. After the tower's original owner merged with the CJ Corporation, it was renamed the N Seoul Tower (official name CJ Seoul Tower). Many visitors ride the Namsan cable car up the mountain, and then walk to the tower. The tower features a gift shop and restaurants on the ground floor. Visitors may go up the tower for a fee. There are four observation decks (the 4th observation deck, which is the revolving restaurant, rotates at a rate of one revolution every 48 minutes), as well as gift shops and two restaurants. Most of the city of Seoul can be seen from the top. Close to N Seoul Tower is a second lattice transmission tower.

The miniature sheet above features the Menara Kuala Lumpur Tower issued in 1996.