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No other buildings quite define the Kuala Lumpur skyline like the most famous twins in town do: the Petronas Towers. These buildings soar 452 metres into the sky and were once the highest towers in the world. The twin buildings’ record was shattered with the opening of the Taipei 101 in Taiwan 6 years later.
Architect César Pelli’s design of the towers has been largely inspired by traditional Islamic art patterns. The angular façades of the 88 floors form octagonal stars, and the pinnacles of the buildings resemble the classic contours of a minaret. An interesting fact is that the 2 identical towers were built by different construction companies in order to meet the 6-year construction deadline of the project. The towers were officially inaugurated on 1 August 1999 by the Prime Minister of Malaysia.
Although no longer the tallest buildings in the world, there are still plenty of superlatives to describe the towers. The walkway on the 41st and 42nd floor that connects the two towers is still the highest of its kind. The Skybridge is actually not attached to the towers, but moves in and out of the buildings on each side. In high winds the towers sway in various directions and without this range of motion the bridge could break.
Visitors can access the Skybridge and the observation deck on the 86th floor via one of the express double-decker elevators. Other entertainment is located at the foot of the towers: watch a performance by the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra or follow the shopping route through one of the largest shopping centres in the country, Suria KLCC. There is even an aquarium with a 90 metre-long underwater tunnel for a close-up look at sea turtles, tiger sharks and stingrays.
The lower floor of the Petronas Towers houses a spectacular 920-seat concert hall: the Dewan Filharmonik. In addition to the Malay Philharmonic Orchestra, the venue frequently hosts world-famous orchestras and artists. Although the majority of performances are classical music concerts, there are also jazz performances and traditional Malaysian music and dance. The height-adjustable ceiling creates the perfect acoustics for each performance. The most striking feature is the huge Klais-pipe organ above the orchestra pit. With its almost 3,000 pipes, it is one of the largest organs in South-East Asia.