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Melaka/Mellaca/Malakka . . . Malaysia

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  • Melaka/Mellaca/Malakka . . . Malaysia

    After the Taman Negara Thread (National Park) I'll venture down south bit to a town called Melaka . . . (I'll use mostly web-pics as mine aren't too great - I'll note which ones are mine)

    Midway between the capital cities of Singapore and Kuala Lumpur and at the mouth of the Strait of Melaka, a crucial shipping route connecting the Indian and Pacific oceans, Melaka has been a centre of trade and cultural exchange for more than 600 years.

    Established at the beginning of the 14th century, Melaka (also spelt Malacca) was set up by a renagade Hindu Prince by the name ofParameswara (also known as Iskandar Shah). He originally hailed from Palembang on Sumatra, which, at the time was a part of the waning Srivijayan empire. The Srivijayans were slowly being conquered by the growing Majapahit Empire and when they took Palembang, Parameswara packed his bags and headed to Temasek (modern daySingapore).

    Parameswara spent the next five years in Temasek, before fleeing (this time at the hand of the Siamese) and setting up shop in Melaka. While legend has it Melaka takes its name from a Melaka tree that Parameswara saw a mouse deer under, more sensible people believe its name comes from the Arabic word mulaqa which means 'meeting place'.

    Ever since Parameswara arrived, Melaka has been a meeting place. Merchants from the Middle East, China, India, Southeast Asia, and even Europe have been drawn here, and everyone at some stage has wanted to control this important port city.

    Control has changed hands many times since Parameswara's time. Portuguese sailors conquered it in 1511 and turned the city into a walled fortress, hoping to take control of the spice and silk trade. From that point, and for the next 400 years Melaka remained under European influence -- the Dutch rose to power in 1641, followed by the British in 1824. With the exception of four years of Japanese occupation during WWII, Melaka remained a British colony until Malaysia gained independence in 1957.

    It was also an important hub of immigration and Chinese, Indian, and Portuguese settlements can be visited, each with their own traditional culture and cuisine. Melaka is the centre of Peranakan or Baba-Nyonyaculture -- a group created when Chinese immigrants married Malay women and adopted local traditions.

    Today, Melaka is a modern city, but one swathed in old-world charm. Its rich heritage has left behind a bounty of relics including Portuguese fortresses, Dutch town halls, Chinese temples and Catholic churches. Dotted around the city's historic quarter, many have been painstakingly preserved as museums of history or culture.

    This wealth of attractions makes itone of Malaysia's top tourist draws attracting both package tourists on daytrips from Singapore along with a steady flow of backpackers and independent travellers making their way through Malaysia. Along withGeorgetown in Penang, the city was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008.

    Ok, from the two-minute history guide to what it's like on the ground as it were . . .

    The town is walkable, that is the area of interest is really quite small and can be explored by foot quite easily - if you don't mind the heat that is.

    Museums - lots of them but the most popular one is in a faux-ship from Portuguese times.

    It is actually quite a bit larger than it looks from the outside, three floors and the 'ground' floor leads outside to another maritime museum more to the Malay/Malaysian coastal and river boats.

    Quite a good hour to be spent here . . .

    I'd certainly recommend the Tourism Malaysia office just opposite the old Catholic Church by the round-about, to get all the info.

    For people with kids there is always the trishaw rides, garishly decorated things with loud speakers to drown out any noise - just tell the guys to turn it off, I'm sure it annoys them as well.
    Yes, they are very gaudy, but at least they have their own lanes on the road

    Next stop should be the old Portuguese fort, two parts to it -the gate and the church on the hill. . . quite a few steps for those not of the sporting variety

    Behind the gate are the steps leading up the hill:

    St John's, I believe - the view is very nice and or this elf us who can read Dutch the inscriptions are excellent - relaying a very personal account of life - and death - of those who lived there

    . . . more later. (still haven't used any of my photos)

  • #2
    nice enough town , strong Dutch influence , conviently located for a stop over when traveling up and down the Straits via yacht


    • #3
      Looks really interesting, PH. A country/city I'd like to visit someday for sure. Thanks for the information. Post your pics as well.


      • #4
        Very good thread PH.


        • #5
          Originally posted by Mid View Post
          nice enough town , strong Dutch influence , conviently located for a stop over when traveling up and down the Straits via yacht

          Stronger Chinese influence.


          • #6
            nope , Malacca is the exception to the rule in that regard .


            • #7
              Originally posted by Mid View Post
              nope , Malacca is the exception to the rule in that regard .
              It is indeed.


              • #8
                Some more colonial architecture . . .




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