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Malacca The Malaysia Heritage City Malaysia Heritage Site

Malacca is one of the most culturally and historically rich UNESCO heritage city in Malaysia, being the centre of the powerful Malacca sultanate during the medieval ages. Since then, it has been colonized by the Portuguese, Dutch and British respectively, forming an intriguing mix of cultures. The state, rightly dubbed Negeri Bersejarah or the Historical State in Malay, has an attractive variety of sights, food, inhabitants and architecture that would definitely appeal to any curious visitors.

Established by the Srivijayan Prince Parameswara, the Sultanate of Malacca was a powerful force in the Malay archipelagos during the 1400s to the early 1500s. Legend has it that Parameswara decided to establish Malacca after seeing one of his hunting dogs defeated by a mouse deer, naming the state after the tree he was resting under. At the height of its power, the Malaccan Sultanate ruled over a major portion of the Malay Peninsula and Sumatra.

A Brief History On Malacca

Established by the Srivijayan Prince Parameswara, the Sultanate of Malacca was a powerful force in the Malay archipelagos during the 1400s to the early 1500s. Legend has it that Parameswara decided to establish Malacca after seeing one of his hunting dogs defeated by a mouse deer, naming the state after the tree he was resting under. At the height of its power, the Malaccan Sultanate ruled over a major portion of the Malay Peninsula and Sumatra.

In 1511, the Portuguese under the command of Afonso de Albuquerque conquered Malacca, with the intent of turning it into a centre for trade and expansion.

 

Unfortunately, the Portuguese failed to keep Malacca and the city soon fell to Dutch invaders. The Dutch, however, was not interested in developing Malacca, ceding it to the British some time later. Malacca later became part of the Malayan Union, the predecessor of the Malaysia we know today.

Culture and Attractions

 

On 7 July 2008, Malacca was officially listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in recognition of its important cultural and historical significance. The town of Malacca is literally filled to the brim with heritage places to visit for the culturally-curious. This article can only cover the tip of the iceberg, but hopefully it will serve as a rough guide to any interested visitors.

Many museums have been established to contain the significant artefacts from Malacca’s rich history. Among the more prominent museums are the Melaka Sultanate Palace Museum, the Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum and the Museum of History and Ethnography.

One of the most popular heritage places to visit is none other than the ruins of A Famosa-the most famous legacy from the time Malacca spent under Portuguese rule. It is what remains of the Portuguese fort originally built to defend Malacca. Another unique attraction in Malacca are the various red structures originally of Dutch construction and design, such as the Christ Church and various other historical structures.

 

The most famous of the red structures, however, has to be the Stadthuys. The oldest remaining Dutch structure in the region, it is more popularly known as the Red Square or the Red House. Originally constructed to be the residence of the Dutch governor, it now houses the Museum of History and Ethnography.

Visitors to Malacca should also take note to visit Jonker Street (officially known as Jalan Hang Jebat). The street houses many heritage buildings that date back all the way to the 17th century. It is also littered with traditional businesses selling items found nowhere else, ranging from antiques to crafts to unique food such as chicken rice balls. Ever since the government took steps to make it a tourist destination, more effort has been poured into the street to showcase the best of Malaccan culture-turning it into a must-visit spot for anyone exploring the town.