The Astana which lies in regal splendour across the river, is a majestic building with a romantic history."
The Astana, a variant of the usual spelling istana or palace, lies in regal splendour across the river. It is a majestic building with romantic history. The second Rajah, Charles Brooke, built this palace in 1870 as a bridal gift for his wife, the Ranee Margaret. The wife later reminisced in her book “My Life in Sarawak”.
Then known as the Government House, it is actually three separate buildings fused into one, with each connected to the other by short and narrow passageways. First occupied by Charles Brooke in 1870, it was the private residence of the 2nd Rajah. A clock tower at the front of the palace was added in 1883 in memory of Charles Brooke.
Brooke is said to have cultivated betel nut in a small plantation behind the Astana, so that he could offer fresh betel nut to visiting Dayak chiefs.
It has undergone substantial alterations and renovations and is today the official residence of the Yang di-Pertua Negeri, the Governor of Sarawak.
As it is an official residence, the Astana is not open to the public. Visitors are allowed the pleasure of strolling around the Astana's beautifully landscaped gardens, which are decorated with ethnic artefacts. It is also only open to the public on Hari Raya Aidilfitri.
Last viewed - December 05, 2013