This Historic State is one of UNESCO’s World Heritage since 2008 and it is worth the title. The town is like the womb of Malaysia. It is rich with history. It was home to the Malay Sultanates till 1511 when the Portuguese took over and ruled till 1826 when the British took over power and in between this time the Dutch had managed to rule the city. There are a minority of people who still speak Portuguese.
The first thing that captures your sight when you alight the bus from Kuala Lumpur is the Town square and the Christ Church. This church is the oldest operational church in Malaysia. It was built in 1753 during the Dutch rule. They used St Paul’s Church before moving here. When we got there, there was an on-going mass so we were not able to go inside. The church has definitely undergone renovations because it is still in good shape and very attractive.
The Town square is surrounded by a lot of historic sites. There is the Dutch windmill, the fountain and a museum. It was a good starting point because from there everything was within a walking range.
Right opposite the fountain is the Dutch windmill also known as the Tropical Windmill. It was built to remind the people that the Dutch were there. Though it never spins, it serves it purpose because it is hard to ignore especially with its big stretched “hands”.
A few minutes walk and we were in the Melaka Windmill right next to the Melaka river. Its size and complexity add more beauty to this small town. On the other side of the river is the luxurious Casa Del Rio Melaka Hotel.
The calm Malacca River flows through the town dividing it into two. It was mainly used as a market as the town was an important trade route between India, Java, China etc during the Malay Sultanate but now it is a major tourist attraction with boats that offer river cruises.
Taking a boat cruise was a must do.Taking the cruise allowed us to see the old preserved Malay villages. These villages were built during the Malay Sultanate rule and they were built using the Malaysian architecture.
We also got the chance to see the “eye” of Melaka and the houses along the river full of colorful graffiti and paintings. We took the boat to the final destination and walked all the way back to the town square. This gave us a chance to visit other places.
On the way to the town square is St. Francis Xavier’s church. The church is named after the French priest who oversaw its construction in 1849. It is built using the Gothic architecture which makes it very attractive.
There are a lot of antique, cafes, restaurants and hotels along the river. You also get glimpse of the river from the bridges. The area along the river is decorated with flowers and the houses tell you their age by their appearance.
After walking for almost an hour we arrived at the busy Jonker Street. We walked till the end of the street and I think it is the busiest street in this town. It is also full of shops and it was a magnificent place to shop, enjoy Malay desserts and the delicious chicken rice balls. There is also a night market but we could not wait as we had a lot to do and still go back to Kuala Lumpur. We wanted to go to the Maritime Museum, A Famosa and St. Paul’s church.
The Maritime Museum is actually a huge boat Museum. It was built by the Malaysian government in commemoration of “Flor De La Mar” a Portuguese ship that sank on its way to Portugal from Melaka.
No shoes are allowed inside the boat. We had to endure the hot wood but it was worth it. Inside there all sorts of artifacts from the Malay, Portuguese and British periods including sculptures depicting different times during their rule.
I am not a great fun of Museums but this one was unique and in a certain sense I liked it.
Time was not on our side and after a few stops on the way to the A Famosa by the time we got there it was dusk. There isn’t a lot to do here. The building was built in 1511 but it as destroyed during the Dutch invasion.
This historic site has seen a lot of sunny and rainy days and this is evidence from its appearance. Just uphill lies the St Paul’s Church.
This is also another old old historic site also known as “Our Lady of the Hill”. Initially, It was a church but it was turned into a burial ground. It is located on top of a hill – hence the name “Our Lady of the Hill” – and from here you can see the whole town until the sea.
By now we were tired and it was already late. We went down the hill to the city square where we took a taxi to the bus station. It was an experience of a lifetime and it made me appreciate History.