Melaka, which known as the Nations leading State for research and development in the industry of biotechnologies, medical, business, scientific, technology and industrial communities. The natural resourceless Melaka is located on the West Coast Peninsular Malay.sia facing the Straits of Melaka. Standing in between the states of Negeri Sembilan and Johor, it is divided into three districts, which are Alor Gajah, Central Melaka and Jasin.
The state of Melaka is a land of polyglot where it is popular with varieties of populations such as Malays, Chinese, and Indians, Straits-born Chinese known as Peranakan, Straits-born Indians known as Chitty, Portuguese descendants and Eurasians. These populations have given a great impact in raising our state into a rich mix of cultures as well as cuisines.
No historian has been able up to now to pin-point the year Malacca was founded. Going by the State government’s celebration of the 600th anniversary of the founding in August 1990, it could be deduced that Malacca was founded in 1390. However, some historians had placed the founding at between 1376 and 1400. That s Sumatran prince, named parameswara, was credited with the founding of the city and naming it Melaka in not disputed. A popular account puts the Prince as out hunting one day and while resting under a tree, one of his dogs cornered a mouse-deer or ‘pelandok’.
The mouse-deer in its defence attacked the dog and even forced it into the river-water. Parameswara was so taken up by the courage of the mouse-deer that he decided on the spot to found a city on the ground he was sitting on. Thus, Melaka or Malacca was born. Many claimed that the prince took this name from the ‘Melaka’ tree that was shading him.
As time went on, Melaka grew bigger and bigger and became more and more prosperous. Parameswara, incidentally, was the first Malay prince to become a Muslim and inevitably, Islam became the religion of Malays in the Peninsular (now West Malaysia). The prince known as Iskandar Shah died in 1424. During his rule, Melaka progressed into a booming international trading post, luring over Javanese, Indian, Arab and Chinese sea-merchants. Under Sultan Mansur Shah (1456 – 1477), Melaka’s fame and wealth not long after caught the attention of the expansionist Europeans with the Portuguese becoming the first to arrive and eventually going on to conquer the land. They were led by Alfonso d’Albuquerque.
The Portuguese occupiers stayed on far 130 years and their King benefited immensely from this. After the Dutch captured Melaka from the Portuguese in 1641, theycontinued to use Batavia, now Jakarta, as their head quarters.
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Rebuilt by the Dutch in the 18th century, St. John’s Fort was once a private Portuguese chapel dedicated to St. John the Baptist. The fort has an interesting feature – cannons face inland as, during that time, attacks on Melaka came mainly from the hinterland instead of from the sea. Another attraction for many is the view from the top of the hill where St. John’s Fort stands, particularly for the fantastic tropical sunsets.
A definite haven for antique collectors and bargain hunters. Authentic artifacts and relics, some dating as far back as 300 years, can be found among a host of interesting collectibles, each with its own history and mystery.Jalan Hang Jebat, formerly known as Jonker Street, is known worldwide among serious antique collectors as one of the best places to hunt and bargain for antiques.Recently, a new wave of cafes and craft shops have sprouted on this street, lending it a cultured air of old-meets-new.
Melaka River Cruise
The river was the main artery of trade for Melaka in its heyday when it was bustling with traders from all around the world. Some buildings from that era still stand majestically by the river, which is also lined by old villages, or kampungs, and modern day buildings. The 45-minute cruise is accompanied by an entertaining and informative commentary. And, for just RM8, it’s a good bargain. See parts of historical Melaka, get a history lesson for next to nothing, and never break a sweat!
St.Paul’s Hill (A’Famosa)
The Portuguese colonised Melaka from 1511 to 1641. The first thing they did was build a fort overlooking the river, calling it A’Famosa. As Melaka was the centre of struggles between super powers of the time, and suffered the constant threat of attack, the A’Famosa fort was critical in Portugal maintaining its colonial foothold in the Far East. Within the fort walls were housing and food stores, a castle, a meeting room for the Portuguese Council and five churches. A seven-month attack by the Dutch just about destroyed the entire fortress, leaving only the entrance faade and the structure of a church at the top of the hill. Go for a stroll up St. Paul’s Hill on a cool late afternoon and wander among the majestic trees and historical remnants. Here, you can almost imagine the glories and miseries of the besieged lives the Portuguese would have led right here all those years ago…
Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum
The ‘Straits Chinese’, also called the Baba and Nyonya, are Chinese of noble descent who have adopted much of the Malay culture into theirs. This has been a gradual process lasting over 400 years since the great Chinese explorer Admiral Cheng Ho first brought Chinese settlers to Melaka. Over the centuries, the Baba Nyonya have developed a distinct and highly interesting culture that is unique to Malaysia’s west coast, particularly Melaka.The public can now view the historical artefacts unique to this heritage at a captivating private museum run by the Babas and Nyonyas of Melaka. Within the walls of this heritage building, you can learn everything there is to know about this unique culture.
This square is also known as ‘Mini Lisbon’. Located within the Portuguese Settlement, the square is the centre of Portuguese culture in Melaka and in Malaysia. The small kampung, or village, around the square is the heart of Melaka’s Eurasian community, descended from marriages that took place between colonial Portuguese and Malays some 400 years ago. There are occasional performances of Portuguese dances and music. There is a bulletin board at the square that lists upcoming cultural events. But even on days when there is no performance, the square is a delightful place to go to for a meal and a drink and view the sunset over the Straits of Melaka.
Menara Taming Sari
Witness a host of interesting and historical sights of Melaka from a height of 80 metres of Menara Taming Sari. Rest assured with the beauty of the vast scenic Melaka straits and the fast development of Melaka, your visit will be an unforgettable and memorable one. Menara Taming Sari which located at Jalan Merdeka, Banda Hilir, Melaka was opened on 18 April 2008. The 110 metre viewing tower was designed based on the legendary Taming Sari Keris. It will be the 1st tower in the country to have a fully revolving structure. The air-conditioned viewing cabin will be able to accommodate 66 people at one time.
Built in 1650 as the official residence of the Dutch Governor and his officers, The Stadthuys is a fine example of Dutch architecture of that period. It is believed to be the oldest Dutch building in the East. An outstanding example of colonial Dutch architecture, this edifice now houses the History Museum and Ethnography Museum. On display are traditional bridal costumes and relics from Melaka’s over 400-year history. Both museums are well-laid out and offer detailed explanations of how these costumes and relics played their part in Melaka’s glorious past.
Melaka Zoo is situated at Ayer Keroh, approximately 13 kilometres from downtown Melaka. It is the second largest zoo in Malaysia. The zoo’s total area is approximately 54 acres. It has in its possession at least 1,200 animals from more than 200 species. Melaka Zoo opened its door to the public in 1963. The major attractions of Melaka Zoo are the Malayan Gaur, Serow and the Malayan Tiger. In line with the current zoo development, Melaka Zoo adopted an open concept and maintains the natural green environment. Melaka Zoos role is as a centre for wildlife research, conservation breeding, zoo education center and a popular tourist destination.
After the fall of Melaka from the Portuguese to the Dutch on 14 January 1641, new measures were taken to ensure the safety of Melaka. The Dutch fortified the walls of Melaka city, which further strengthened the existing city’s defences left by the Portuguese. The Dutch still received threats from outsiders and locals in a bid to wrestle back the city of Melaka. The fortification of the city’s walls involved the building of a bastion or control tower strategically located at the mouth of Melaka River, the focal point for trade and stopover for international ships.The building of a bastion, known as Middleburg was carried out by the Dutch in 1660. This new control tower added to the existing bastions of Melaka city to nine. The defences of the city became strengthened with this new bastion as it regulated the area surrounding Melaka River, busy with shipping and trading activities at the time. The existing defence system with bastion provided cannon support to the military. It proved a vital factor in overcoming unseen threats.
Kampung Hulu’s Mosque
The mosque, built in 1728 during the Dutch Occupancy, is the oldest mosque in the country. Its unique architectural style is a unique blend of Sumatran, Hindu and Western architecture. All of the building’s original wooden structures except the four main pillars and the roof structure were replaced with concrete. Within the mosque compound, you can find the grave of Sayyid Abdullah Al-Haddad, a famous religious teacher, whom many regarded as a “Wali” (Saint). A good way to see the Kampung Hulu Mosque is to include it as part of your walking tour of nearby Jonker Street. The Mosque is set just one street back from the famous street.
Fredrick Hendrick Bastion Archaeological Excavation Site
After the fall of Melaka, Portuguese built a fort to deter enemy threats at the time. The fort built by the Portuguese from laterite stone was sourced from the surrounding areas. The fort was built circular to the city and had 8 bastions, built in each corner of the city as well as strategic locations at the walls to monitor incoming enemy forces. The Fredrick Hendrick bastion is one of six full functioning bastions at the time. The Dutch later fortified and built a sturdier bastion when the defeated the Portuguese in 1641. The Dutch still received threats from the local community who tried to wrestle back Melaka. Additions to the fort walls were also carried out, especially near the river mouth of Melaka River, site of trade and stop-overs of ships from around the world.
Taman Mini Malaysia & Mini ASEAN
The Taman Mini Malaysia cultural park is located a few kilometres outside of Melaka, near the town of Ayer Keroh. If you have an interest in traditional architecture and ways of life, this is a great place to go exploring. Each of the homes represents the architectural style of the 13 states in Malaysia and is furnished with various items, arts and crafts which depict the culture of each state. Inside each house, you can find a range of genuine handicrafts originating from each state or county. The life-like figures ‘inhabiting’ each charming home on stilts are garbed in their respective traditional costumes. Other attractions in the park include weekly cultural shows and traditional games. Basically, this is an opportunity to see all Malaysian architecture and heritage in a short all-encompassing outing. And it’s a nice break from the hustle and bustle of nearby urban Melaka.
Melaka City Archaeological Excavation Site
Research and archaeological excavation works at the playground started from 1 June till 30 June, 2010. This site is situated at Jalan Kota, next to the Central Melaka police headquarters. This area as chosen due to its proximity to the remnants of the city’s walls, from Bastion Fredrick Hendrick to Bastion Santiago, based on a sketch of a Portuguese (1588) and Dutch (1792) maps.Excavation works started manually and systematically archaeologically. The works uncovered the remnants of the city’s walls that were built using laterite stones, organised methodically by the Portuguese and fortified by the Dutch. However, the British powered Melaka and destroyed the city walls. Besides the city’s wall structure, the original drainage system of the Melaka was also found at the site. The drains were square (40 cm x 60 cm) made using laterite. Other artefacts found at the site were Ming and Ching dynasty porcelain shards, stoneware, Dutch rock, pottery, animal bones, steel and others. However, the artefacts were found scattered throughout the area as this was also part of a walled up dam during the British era.