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Magazine Circus 五葩燈

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Magazine Circus, viewed towards KomtarMagazine Circus, viewed towards Komtar (8 August 2006)

B. Melayu

Magazine Circus (GPS: 5.414109, 100.328659) is the traffic junction in front of Komtar, where Magazine Road meets Penang Road.

Magazine Circus is regarded as the "Charing Cross" of George Town, that is to say, the centrepoint of the city from where all distances are measured. A remnant from the British colonial era, Magazine Circus has neither a circus or a roundabout here. There once was a roundabout here, but it was removed a long time ago. Penang Travel Tips uses it as Zero Mile, the point in the city centre from which all distances on Penang Island is referenced, and encourages its use within the local real estate industry as the point of reference for distances of residential properties to the city centre.

The name Magazine Circus refers to a six-pointed roundabout or traffic circle that used to be there. It was known to the Malays as Simpang Enam, and to the Hokkiens as Gor33 Pha3 Teng1 五葩燈 , or "Five Lanterns", in reference to a lamp post with five lamps located at the roundabout. The Tamils call the junction Arre Muchanti, or "six streets".

Magazine CircusMagazine Circus, now no more a roundabout. (29 January, 2018)

Distances and Measurements from Magazine Circus

All sights on this website are measured against Magazine Circus, being Zero Mile for the city of George Town. Places that are within a 5-kilometer road distance (not radius) is considered "near" the city centre, over 5 and up to 8 km is considered "moderately near", over 8 and up to 15 km is considered "moderately far", over 15 km and up to 20 km is consider "far", and above 20 km is considered "very far". Places less than 2 km from Magazine Circus is considered "within walking distance" to the city centre.

Until the mid 20th century, Magazine Circus was the meeting point of six major roads in George Town, namely Penang Road, Gladstone Road, Magazine Road, Brick Kiln Road, Dato Kramat Road and Macalister Road. It is also the northwestern tip of the Seven Streets Precinct.

Today the roundabout, or "circus", has been replaced by a junction. Penang Road, Magazine Road and Brick Kiln Road have been turned into one-way streets. Brick Kiln Road has been renamed Jalan Gurdwara. Gladstone Road was erased when Komtar was developed. Even the very existence of Magazine Circus is no longer familiar to the locals.

Magazine Circus, as seen from KomtarMagazine Circus, as seen from Komtar (16 May 2008)

An old photo from the History Museum Penang showing the oval-shaped Magazine CircusOld photo from the History Museum Penang showing the oval-shaped Magazine Circus (2 November, 2013)
The History Museum Penang

Magazine Circus, as seen from Penang Road (29 September, 2012)

Magazine Circus on Google Street View

(Aug 2015)

Location of Magazine Circus on the map

List of Roundabouts in Penang and Roundabouts in Malaysia

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