Frenetic, fast-paced and exciting, Kuala Lumpur is Malaysia's capital and largest city, packed with interesting sights. Immediately obvious are the twin peaks of the city, the futuristic Petronas Twin Towers; less initially apparent is the tangle of delightful streets that spread out below them. Kuala Lumpur's growth has been rapid, as the area was virtually uninhabited until the 1850s. At that time, the area at the confluence of the Klang and Gombak Rivers began to be mined for tin. Several more small mines opened in the vicinity, and before long the region had grown into a sizeable town.
Before long rival factions were struggling to gain control of the mines, and halted production. The British forces in the area at the time then appointed a Chinese foreman to oversee the work, and with this structure in place the town began to develop anew. By the 1890s Kuala Lumpur had grown significantly, and was connected to the railway network; its growth and prominence was such that it was proclaimed the capital of the newly-formed Federated Malay States in 1896 - a position it has maintained since Malaysia gained independence.
In quite a short time Kuala Lumpur has evolved into a major centre of commerce, transport and tourism. It has continued to grow whilst retaining a significant number of its earliest buildings; historic religious buildings and colonial architecture sits side-by-side with skyscrapers and gleaming shopping centres.