Kuala Lumpur (KL), the political, cultural, and econonic capital of Malaysia and its most populous urban center (pop 1.6 million) is one of the most important cities in Asia. In 1857, prospectors landed at the apex of the Klang and Gombak Rivers - now site of Masjid Jamek - and named the place Kuala Lumpur, meaning muddy confluence. Most of them died of malaria, but only a century and half later, the malaria-infested jungle has been replaced by a 21st-century city. The high-rises culminate in the Golden Triangle, Kuala Lumpur's commercial hub, home to the twin Petronas Towers - the world tallest building (450m) when opened in 1998. The colonial center of Kuala Lumpur, Merdeka Square (where independence was proclaimed in 1957), is dominated by the Sultan Abdul Samad Building, which exhibits a mixture of styles typical of Kuala Lumpur. Below those landmarkes, the streets of Kuala Lumpur remain a vibrant ethnic mix with major Chinese and Indian communities. The jungle hasn't disappeared, neither, as a number of parks and nature preserves make Kuala Lumpur one of the greenest cities in Asia.
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