PUTERI HILL (locally known as BUKIT PUTERI) that heading towards Kuala Terengganu River and the South China Sea had been witnessed the history of urban development. Its strategic location makes this significant area of hills in ancient times as a center of control for the Terengganu’s government and defense.
The original name Bukit Puteri is not undetectable but in the history of Terengganu have stated that Bukit Puteri has been around since the 1st century. This proves the importance of this place to the Terengganu Government to face enemies from the outside, especially the threats that were coming from the sea direction.
During the reign of Sultan Mansur II (1831-1836), Sultan Mahmud I (1836-1839) and Sultan Umar (1839-1876) Bukit Puteri has become a fortification Fort during civil war occurred at that time. It covers an area of 0.688 hectares and its approximately 200meter in height. On top of the hill there is also a Flag Pole for the Royal flag being raised during royal festival days. The Flag Pole began to be installed in the year 1899 during the reign of Sultan Zainal Abidin III. The pole is about 18 metres height and bottom of the pole was buried under the ground about 2 metres in depth. However the current Flag Pole is not original pole but which was built during the reign of Sultan Sulaiman Badrul Alam Shah.
At the bottom of the Flag Pole, there is seems like a stone caves room being built underground. It is likely a place to keep bullets and ammunitions in the past. Next to it there is a King’s throne room that act as a control centre. On top of the Hill is also a pillar of fire or the lighthouse as marked for ships at sea.
Now that there are several cannons being left on ground unattended and some have been transferred to several places in Kuala Terengganu town and also to the Istana Badariah as decoration. The cannons there mostly made by Portuguese, Spanish and some even made by the Malays themselves. Between the names of the cannon that ever being placed at Bukit Puteri are Sri Johor, Sri Laila Majnun, Sri Buih and Sri Jamlor.
Cannons at Puteri Hill
Fort at Puteri Hill
Another relic of history is that there is a Large Bell (locally called as Genta Besar) located on the Hill. This Bell is always there since previous Royal rulers era long time ago. If damaged, it will be replaced with a new Large Bell. The current Large Bell is made during the reign of Sultan Zainal Abidin III which is approximately in the year 1908. The Bell weighs 175 kilograms and was made using yellow brass by a craftsman named Wan Ali Wan Awang who is being assisted by a number of other craftsmen from Kampung Tanjung and Kampung Paya, Kuala Terengganu.
The purpose of this Large Bell to spread instant signal to the public of any disaster or threats happen such as the violation of enemies, fire etc. This Bell was hammered aloud for allowing the civilians to get ready in facing any possibilities.
Large Bell (Genta Besar)
At present, Bukit Puteri is still a great monumental in Terengganu standing beside Palace of Maziah in sight, keeping a variety of ancient history and secrets, the greatness of a State Government Terengganu Darul Iman. In addition, Bukit Puteri is become one of the tourist attractions in Terengganu and it is placed under the care of the State Museum.
The Director of the Museum of Terengganu Mr Mohd Yusof Abdullah says that the Hill is a full of historic events since it used happened to be a fort and was once the cause of the civil war race during the upheavals of the Terengganu Sultanate between 1931 to 1939. ‘Various relics are still clearly visible in Bukit Puteri among throne room, the cannons, Large Bell, Flag Pole and lighthouse. ' In fact, tourists can also see the fort that was built by themselves using sand, egg whites, lime, shells, honey bees and still strong despite ages almost decades old.
Bukit Puteri, the size of 0.688 hectares, is located in the vicinity of Kuala Terengganu town and near the mouth of Terengganu River with a height of approximately 200 meters above sea level. Mr Mohd Yusof also said that the Hill is located at the strategic assets nearby close to the historic building such as Abidin Mosque, Palace of Maziah apart near the Pasar Besar Kedai Payang and a Post Office in Kuala Terengganu.
There are also interesting stories from local villagers about Bukit Puteri. Some of the old folks claimed that Bukit Puteri was used to be the residence of fairies (locally called as Orang Bunian). At the earlier time, the villagers used to come to Puteri Hill to borrow variety of dishes such as tableware for weddings or parties. As a consequence of not return back the borrowed dishes, the Fairies Princess has sulk and disappeared from Bukit Puteri until now.