Melaka is a small state of Malaysia that covers not more than 1,664 km² area. This small state with population of around 800,000 in 2010 offers great hospitality to the visitors every world. You will find historical buildings, local food and shopping places here, but let us now introduce you to the aspect that Melaka is also in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here are top 10 historical places to visit in Melaka.
Fort A Famosa (1511)
A Famosa Fort Melaka is a sixteenth century Portuguese building erected in 1511. The A Famosa Fort once covered great area and had big and very thick walls. The fort was attacked several times in the history. On the front wall of the fort, there are carvings of human and animal faces. You must visit the place and see the fort that was hidden under soil till the late 20th century and was discovered during excavation for the Taming Sari Tower.
Image Credit: Michael Coghlan
St. Peter’s Church (1710)
The St. Peter’s Church was built in 1710 by the Portuguese Catholics. The building was completed in the Dutch reign. Being a world heritage site, it is The Oldest Catholic Church in the country & one of the religious tourist attractions in Melaka. People still visit the Church and attend sermons in the big halls. There is a bell in the Church that mentions that the building was erected in early seventeenth century. Do visit this historical place, you will also find an alabaster statue of the Christ.
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St Paul’s Church (1521)
Melaka’s historical places include the St Paul’s Church that was built in 1521. The Church is located over the St Paul’s Hill. The Church was built by the Portuguese administration. The history of the Church tells that Duarte Coelho built it showing gratitude after escaping the sea storm. Outside the Church, there is Saint Paul’s statue that has lost its right hand. The walls of the Church have floral designs and portraits of the kings. A board outside the Church tells about its history.
Image Credit: Paul Mannix
Christ Church (1753)
A little younger than the other historical Churches in Melaka, the Christ Church was built in 18th century in 1753. It is the Protestant Church located just near the St. Paul Hill, Captain of the Malacca Burghers, Abraham de Wind laid the foundation stone of the Church. It took around 12 years to complete the Church. After the completion of this Church, it became the primary Dutch Converted Church in Dutch Malacca replacing the Bovenkerk. The Red building adds to the elegance of the environment around even today.
Image Credit: John Ragai
Francis Xavier Church (1849)
The Francis Xavier Church Melaka was built in the mid of nineteenth century by a Father named Farvé. The Church was built in the honor of St. Francis Xavier. The Church had the privilege of being the largest Church in Malay Peninsula at one time. The Francis Church reminds of St. Francis Xavier who did a lot of humanitarian work in Malacca.
Francis Xavier spent only some months in Melaka yet his fame spread through the land. The Church reminds that people never forget their sympathizers. Every year, millions of visitors come to Melaka and visit this Church named after St. Francis Xavier or publically “Apostle of the East”.
Image Credit: Tristan Schmurr
In the cluster of historical places to visit in Malacca, the Stadthuys is also counted. The name of the place is a Dutch word that means a city hall. The buildings in the place are painted red, thus it is also known as the Red Square. This is the place connected to almost all the parts of city and you can call it the heart of Malacca town. The Dutch Governor of Malacca built it in 1650. The Stadthuys is reserved as a Museum of History and Ethnography today. The place stores some of traditional costumes and artifacts that remind you of history of Malacca.
Image Credit: Mohd Fazlin Mohd Effendy
Cheng Hoon Teng Temple (1645)
The Cheng Hoon Teng temple or “Temple of Green Cloud” reminds of the Chinese architecture in Malacca. The Chinese used to practice Three Doctrines here including Taoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism. The Cheng Hoon is one of oldest functioning temple in Malaysia. Just near the Harmony Street, the Temple covers 4,600 m2 area which is beautifully decorated. There is a 7 meter pole that has a red flag with names of three captains.
Image Credit: Yun Huang Yong
Kampung Kling Masjid (1748)
Emporium of the East, Malacca, is a remarkable example of city with so many unique architectural designs. The Kampung Kling Masjid is one such example that is a very unique Mosque building located at the “Harmony Street” & among the best places to visit in Melaka.
The Mosque was built originally in 1748 by Muslim Traders from India, and rebuilt in early nineteenth century. You will not find the original architecture that was a wooden building, but the re-constructed bricked building. The design of the building is a mix of Sumatran, Chinese, Hindu, and the Malay architecture.
You will find in the Kampung Kling Masjid the main parts of Islamic praying place that include a main hall, minaret, pool for ablution pool and arches.
Image Credit: Dr. Thomas Liptak
Sri Poyyatha Vinayagar Moorthi Temple (1781)
If you want to visit the oldest Hindu Temple in Melaka, Sri Poyatha Moorthi Temple is the right place. The Temple belongs to Chitty people or the Tamil people living in Singapore and Malacca. There are only a couple of Chitty temples in the area. The Sri Poyatha Moorthi Temple is in the “Harmony Street”.
Thavinayagar Chitty was a local leader who built the temple in 1781. He got the land from Dutch administration that decided to use it for the Temple. You will find statues and pictures of Vinayagar or Ganesha in the Temple that is an elephant-like god of the Chitty Hindu people. You will be astounded by the maintenance of the Temple.
There are few places which did not make the list of top 10 historical places to visit in Melaka, but worth mentioning, because of their historical importance.
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Queen Victoria Memorial Fountain
In the Stadthuys, there is a Queen Victoria’s Fountain that serves as central place from where you can visit almost all the historical places of the city. The Queen Victoria Regina date mentioned on the fountain is 1837 to 1901. Almost every tourist to Melaka likes to have a photo by this fountain since it is both beautiful and historical. Getting here early is the key else you might have to get in a queue to take a picture in front of the fountain.
The Dutch Square and Queen Victoria Memorial Fountain are located at a same place. The Dutch Square or the Malacca Town Square is monument of the British administration that was built in the mid of 17th century. , and the Dutch lined it with the main townhouse, or Stadthuys, along with the Dutch Reformed Church, now called Christ Church. The red buildings in the square look great in the night lights.
Tan Kim Seng Bridge Melaka
On the River Melaka, the Tan Kim Seng Bridge is most famous as well as important. There was a rich Chinese trader and philanthropist in 19th century after whom the bridge is named. He donated the bridge to the town. Tan Kim donated bridge as well as land for Chinese cemetery to the town. You can find the bridge near Clock tower.
The Heeren Street is located just near the famous Jonker Street but its importance still stands. This place is one of the most important roads. The visitors to the Jonker Walk also visit this place and visitors especially come here to see how some of the residential use buildings were converted to the finest restaurants and historical places.
The place was once inhabited by the richest Malaccan families. Thus, it was famous as the “Millionaires’ Row”. Walk in the Heeren Street and be glad since you are lucky enough to visit the place that once welcomed only the richest. The glory of the place is still there which can be visited especially between 11:00am to 4:00pm from Tuesday to Saturday.
Good thing is, most of these historical places to visit in Melaka comes with a free entrance. So, if you are backpacking in Melaka, you should visit all the above mentioned places. It will give you an understanding of rich culture & heritage of the ancient Melaka city.
Feature Image Credit: Mohd Fazlin Mohd Effendy