People from all over the world come to visit Malacca, a vibrant maritime trading centre of old, mainly for one purpose the nostalgic historical journey of Malacca. The first Sultanate of Malacca began in the year 1403, and in 1511 after some fearsome battles with the Portuguese, the Sultan of Malacca surrendered power to the Portuguese.
The ruler changed hand again in 1641 when the Dutch came into the picture, the Dutch ruled the land for 154 years. In 1824 once again Malacca fell into the hand of another foreign power- the British. Malacca gained its independent through the formation of Malaya from Britain in 1957. Not forgetting that during the second world war, from 1942 to 1945, Malacca also experienced the occupation under the Japanese.
The most visited landmark in Malacca has to be the Porta de Santiago (A’Famosa), where many tourists and even locals come to have their pictures taken. The fortress was built by the Portuguese in 1511, and it was badly damaged during the battles with the Dutch in 1641. Because of the strong foundation used by the Portuguese when building the fortress, many of the walls still remain intact, and these ruins can be seen at numerous spots in modern Malacca City, if one has a keen eye.
Up on the hill next to the Porta de Santiago, is the ruin of St. Paul’s Church, which was built in 1521 by a Catholic Portuguese captain called Duarte Coelho. This is also where the famous missionary St. Francis Xavier was buried in 1553. His body was transferred to Goa, India, at a later date. The St. Paul’s Church has a commanding view of the Malacca City below and the seafront before the horizon.
In 1650 the Dutch built the Stadthuys, a long three storeys building, to house the Dutch governors and their officers. Today the Stadthuys houses the Museum of History and Ethnography. Opening hours is from 9am to 5pm and 9am to 9pm on weekends. Admission fee is RM5 for adults and RM 2 for children. (Tel 06-284 1934)
Adjacent to the Studthuys is the bright red structure Christ Church, which was built by the Dutch in 1753. This building is still being used by the local today and Sunday service is still being carried out.
The Malacca river of present time, probably would have looked very different from now in centuries ago.
The impress replica of the Flor de la Mar, a Portuguese vessel that sank off the Malacca coast, is located along Jalan Quayside. This replica houses the Maritime Museum. Opening hours is 9am to 5:30pm, and 9am to 9pm on weekend. Entrance fee is RM 2 for adult, and RM 0.50 for children.
(Tel: 06- 283 0926)
Above are just a few landmarks in the vicinity of Malacca City. There are still many historical places to visit. A two day tour will be sufficient to complete these other historical places, including the famous Hang Li Po’s Well, and the legendary grave of Hang Tuah, a well known Malay warrior during the Malacca Sultanate.