Melaka, Malaysia



Melaka is deep in history and more than 600 years ago was a small village inhabited by local Malays until its founding around 1402 by a Malay-Hindu prince named Parameswara. The village developed into a thriving trading port under Parameswara and later into a powerful sultanate under successive sultans. Melaka's importance as a trading port attracted the interest of the Portuguese who conquered Melaka in 1511 and 150 years later by the Dutch in 1641. The legacy of the Portuguese and Dutch conquerors can still be seen in the buildings they left and the main purpose for visiting Melaka.

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After the defeat of the Melaka sultanate, the Portuguese quickly built a fort to protect their gains. The fort was built around a hill with its defensive walls and four large towers. Within the fort was the residence of the officers and village clustered in townhouses. Much of the fort was demolished beginning in 1806 when Melaka came under the rule of the British until stopped by Sir Stamford Raffles, the founder of Singapore.
What is left of the fort today is the small gatehouse of Porta de Santiago and today the oldest surviving European architecture in Asia.

A'Famosa, Melaka

Ruins of the A'Famosa

St. Paul's Church
After passing the gate of the A'Famosa, walk up the steps of St. Paul's Hill, which eventually leads you to St. Paul's Church. Built by the Portuguese in 1521, it was a Catholic prayer house originally named 'Nossa Senhora da Annunciada' (Our Lady of Annunciation). The Portuguese missionary St. Francis Xavier was buried here in 1553 before his body moved to the Portuguese colony of Goa in India. The Dutch conquerors later converted the church into a burial ground, which you can still see the tombstones along the walls of the ruins of the church.
St. Paul's Church, Melaka

St. Paul's Church

The Dutch Quarter
The Dutch quarter is located within a short walk from the A'Famosa. The Dutch developed the area after conquering Melaka and expelling the Portuguese. A major landmark is the Stadhuys (town hall), constructed in 1650 and a reproduction of the town hall in the Frisian town of Hoorn in the Netherlands, which existed from 1420 until 1796. This is one of the oldest Dutch buildings in the east and today houses the History and Ethnography Museums.

Nearby is Christ Church, a Protestant church built by the Dutch between 1741 and 1753. The church was constructed in the Dutch colonial architecture using Dutch bricks and tiles built on local laterite blocks  On the floor of the church you will find Dutch tombstones and o
n the altar you will see sacramental silverware, still bearing the Dutch coat of arms. When the British took over Melaka, the church was converted into an Anglican church which it remains today.   
Studhuys, Melaka

Studhuys in the Dutch Quarter

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