Malacca, Malaysia

Whilst Kuala Lumpur is a shrine both to modern Malaysia and the colonial legacy of the British, Malacca to the south is steeped in a far older history as one of the World’s most significant trading ports.

Beginning its life as a humble Sea Gypsy colony in the 1300’s, Malacca was established as the Capital of the Kingdom of the same name, and quickly grew into a powerhouse of World trade. 

By the end of the fifteenth century, Malacca was welcoming Chinese, Japanese, Javan, Khmer, Burmese, Thai, Tamil, Bengali, Persian and Arabic traders, all of whom have left the cultural hues of their unique influences upon the town's remarkable historic character.

A Famosa Fort, Malacca, Malaysia

The most significant and enduring import was the arrival of Islam, which passed into Southeast Asian consciousness through the portal of Malacca, eventually supplanting the earlier Hindu-Buddhist traditions to politically and religiously dominate in the Malay and Indonesian lands.  

The fabulous wealth of Malacca would soon also inevitably attract the attentions of covetous European powers, during their age of discovery, who have likewise left their mark upon this fascinating community. 

St. Paul’s hill, home to the fortified ruins of Porta de Santiago and St. Paul’s Church, is the site of the surviving Portuguese legacy. Elsewhere in the town, the predominating influence is Dutch, the most prominent examples of which are Christ Church and Stadthuys, the oldest Dutch building in Asia, now home to the History, Ethnography & Literature Museum.

Malacca Riverfront, Malacca, Malaysia

The oldest indigenous buildings of Malacca are the elegantly adorned Cheng Hoon Teng Temple (Temple of Bright Clouds), the oldest of Malaysia’s Chinese temples, Malacca’s oldest mosque Masid Kampung Kling with its Sumatran inspired design, and the Sri Poyyatha Vinayagar Moorthi Temple, Malaysia’s oldest Hindu temple. 

Among the old streets, the narrow Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock provides the quaint feel of the old world, with its fine examples of Peranakan townhouses. Further insight into the original architecture is on show at the Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum.  

Close to the town’s green space, Padang Pahlawan, are the Muzium Rakyat (People’s Museum), Muzium Budaya (Cultural Museum) and the Proclamation of Independence Memorial, on the site of the historic rejection of British rule. At night, Malacca’s history is illustrated by a sound and light show on the Padang at Bandar Hill.

Masjid Selat Mosque, Malacca, Malaysia

 

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