Melaka has transformed from a little fishing village to an entrepot to an abandoned outpost and the recent a resurgence as a tourist jaunt. Melaka and George Town, Penang were named as UNESCO World Heritage Sites based on their history trails of trade dating back 500years. However, the 2 historical towns were not only listed because of its architectural and historical multi cultural as well as colonial influences BUT more importantly for their living heritage.
These are the criterion in which Melaka and George Town were included in the prestigious list of World Heritage Sites:
Criterion (ii): Melaka and George Town represent exceptional examples of multi-cultural trading towns in East and Southeast Asia, forged from the mercantile and exchanges of Malay, Chinese, and Indian cultures and three successive European colonial powers for almost 500 years, each with its imprints on the architecture and urban form, technology and monumental art. Both towns show different stages of development and the successive changes over a long span of time and are thus complementary.
Criterion (iii): Melaka and George Town are living testimony to the multi-cultural heritage and tradition of Asia, and European colonial influences. This multi-cultural tangible and intangible heritage is expressed in the great variety of religious buildings of different faiths, ethnic quarters, the many languages, worship and religious festivals, dances, costumes, art and music, food, and daily life.
Criterion (iv): Melaka and George Town reflect a mixture of influences which have created a unique architec¬ture, culture and townscape without parallel anywhere in East and South Asia. In particular, they demonstrate an exceptional range of shophouses and townhouses. These buildings show many different types and stages of development of the building type, some originating in the Dutch or Portuguese period.
* taken from http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1223
The fact that both Melaka and George Town are thriving urban areas, there is always a pressing need for the private, public and government sectors to improve, develop and re-adapt to the current trends and demands. With the renewed interest in these historical towns/cities , there is always a desire to find a fine and delicate balance between gentrification and retaining the values that earned them a World Heritage Site status in the first place.
These are pressing issues and they are even more apparent in Melaka due to the intense pressure to accommodate the desires of the tourism sector.
Melaka Town - the Stadhuys on the right was the admistrative office and the Governor of Melaka's dwelling. Built in 1650 under the Dutch rule and was subsequently taken over by the British where visiting guests were housed. Now a museum, it is interesting to learn that there is a private staircase that used to run from the Governor's room to a bathroom in the gardens. The bathtub has now been covered up for fear visitors would fall into it.. ? Opening Hours Saturday - Thursday: 9.00am - 5.30pm . Friday: 9.00am - 12.15pm & 2.45pm - 5.30pm * Closed on Mondays. Entrance fee: RM5 for Adults; RM2 for Children
For many, it's a little difficult to imagine the fort having once been strategically positioned by the sea to protect the town. After years of extensive land reclamation, the fort sits almost 1km inland. But of course, this one here is a reconstruction of the original fort wihich had been blowned to bits by the British Resident of Malacca, William Farquhar in 1807. Scattered around the old section of Malacca town are excavations of the old fortress foundations but unfortunately have not been very well managed and information on site is sorely lacking.
The Melaka Islamic Museum , located along Jalan Kota, at the foot of St Paul's Hill is housed in the former office building of the Melaka Islamic Council. It's open daily from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm. Entrance fee is RM1.00 for adults and RM0.50 for children . Along the way there are quite a number of museums to visit and are great places for shelter from the sweltering afternoon heat or from a torrential monsoon downpour.
Cheng Ho Cultural Museum , located along Lorong Hang Jebat (opposite the Stadthuys across the Melaka River). It's open daily from 9.00am to 6.00pm. Entrance fee is RM20 for adult and RM10 for child.www.chengho.org/museum . For more on Admiral Cheng Ho, visit our page on historical malacca
Melaka Sultanate Palace , located at the foothill of St Paul's Hill is a replica of the Melaka Sultan's palace during the period of the Melaka Sultanate. The construction of this replica was completed in 1984 and information and data obtained from the Malay Annals. These historical documents had references to the construction and the architecture of palaces during the era of Sultan Mansur Syah, who ruled from 1456 to 1477. It's open Tuesdays till Sundays from 9.00 am - 6.00 pm (Closed on Mondays). Entrance fees: Adults RM2.00; Children/Students RM0.50
Governor's Museum, located on top of St. Paul's Hill, next to the ruins of St. Paul's Church . This building was the official residence and office of the Dutch Governor of Melaka when the Dutch ruled Melaka during the 17th century. When the British arrived and colonised Melaka, the building continued to serve as the residence and office of the British governor of Melaka and later, the Governors of Melaka since independence of 1957 right until 1996 when a palatial building was built in Alor Gajah and the Governor's Residence and Office relocated. 'The location of the old residence and its limited space was inadequate to meet the demands of the office in a fast developing Melaka State.' quoted from http://www.virtualmuseummelaka.com/tyt.htm
St. Paul's Church and St. Paul's Hill are worth a walk round. It is also a venue for arts and performances. One such is Mapfest ie Melaka Arts and Performance Festival. For more go here at http://www.melakafestival.com/
Maritime Museum Phase I (Flor De Lamar) , located at Quayside Road near the Melaka River estuary. The Maritime Museum is also a replica of the 'Flora de La Mar', the Portuguese ship under the command of Alfonso de Alburquerque which sank off the coast of Melaka . Along with it sank a lot of Melaka's historical riches and work of arts. The replica is 34 metres high, 36 metres long and 8 metres wide and was completed and opened to public in 1994. It's open from 9.00 am - 6.00 pm (Closed on Tuesdays). Entrance fees: Adults RM2.00; Children/Students RM0.50
Maritime Museum Phase 2 , located at the old Guthrie warehouse after it was extensively renovated by the Public Works Department. The building is next to the replica of the Flora de La Mar . This is a modern museum with lots of visual presentations focusing on maritime themes such as maritime life, exploration of the oceans and seas, treasures from the sea etc. It's open from 9.00 am - 6.00 pm (Closed on Tuesdays). Entrance fees: Adults RM2.00; Children/Students RM0.50
The Stamp Museum is a great place for stamp collectors. Not too long ago, kids had healthy hobbies such as stamp collecting, coin collecting, writing to pen pals etc and this is one museum worth visiting just to reminisce the past. The building itself is a treasure. It was occupied by the Westerhout family for 300 years until 1930. The museum showcases stamp collections, history of stamps and its covers, postmen’s uniforms changed through generations, (have you seen the 2010 revamped version of our postman's uniform?) unreleased stamps, specific themed stamps and many more. It's open daily from 9.00 am - 5.30 pm . Entrance fees: Adults RM1.00; Children/Students RM0.50
Baba and Nyonya Museum , located along Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock. This is a private museum that features the lifestyle of a privileged Baba / Nyonya family or ‘Straits-born Chinese’ or ‘Peranakan’ during the late 19th century. The house was built in 1896, and is stuffed with old wares and furnitures collected over a century. This museum though has had a long history of unfriendly guides so don't take it to heart if they aren't too keen to entertain to your questions. For more on peranakan , try this site at http://www.peranakanlife.com/ .
Admission Fee RM16
Daily Tour Times:
10am - 1:00pm (last morning tour 12noon)
2pm - 5:00pm (last evening tour 4pm)
Extended Hour on Weekends:
Fri, Sat, Sun (last evening tour 5:00pm)
8 Heeren Street , located on Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock is open to public as an interpretation and resource centre for the heritage zone. It is a typical shophouse built on a long narrow lot, extending back 20 or 30 metres between parallel walls with successive roofed portions around an open courtyard to provide light and ventilation. It has an open front with a pedestrian way for a shop on the ground floor and a residence above with simple plaster walls, an overhanging roof, a tile-roofed porch and a timber window at the first floor. This house has characteristics which identify it to have been built in the Dutch period . It is owned by the Cheng Hoon Teng Temple Trust. It was given to be held in Trust by Tjan Tian Quee before WWII. The restoration was taken on by Badan Warisan Malaysia. More on the restoration work and history of the building here at https://badanwarisanmalaysia.org/visit-us/no-8-heeren-street/ . It's open Tues to Sat 11 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. Entrance fee; none. There is a little book shop at 8 Heeren Street worth browsing through.
The Royal Press, located on Jalan Hang Jebat has been with the same family for generations, spanning 78years of history. This wonderfully restored unit shows that individuals and private organisations can make things happen, to retain their heritage. As a nation of new migrants..like USA, there is not a lot to go on in terms of tracing back to the B.C. We have a history that only spans 600+yrs. Perhaps that is the reason as to why many have no love for the foundations that were laid for them by those who laid their lives to build the nation. They have no long history and love for their world that was built on sacrifice and tenacity, integrity and values. The Royal Press is a prime example of those of us who have a history and one that is worth preserving so that our future descendants won't forget the family tree. http://theroyalpress.my/
Cheng Hoon Teng Temple, located on Jalan Tokong received an UNESCO award for outstanding architectural restoration in 2004. Artisans and craftsmen were brought over from China to work on the delicate roof structure, gilding, ceramic works etc. 'The temple ranks among the most significant in Southeast Asia, being central to the spiritual aspirations of the Chinese community in historic Malacca.' For more on the history of Cheng Hoon Teng and the restoration work done on the Temple , go here at http://www.chenghoonteng.org.my
Hang Jebat Mausoleum, located at 120 Jalan Hang Jebat. Hang Jebat was, as legend has it, a Malay warrior during the rule of Sultan Mansor Shah (r. 1456-77) . Along with his sworn brothers Hang Tuah , Hang Kasturi , Hang Lekiu and Hang Lekir; they defended and guarded over the Sultan of Melaka - Sultan Mansor Shah. It is not determined if the grave stated is of Hang Jebat's but the grave itself is Achinese in style and is of the type normally used to mark the burial places of high ministers or Sultans of the period. For more on this, go http://www.orientalarchitecture.com
Masjid Kampong Kling, located at jalan (Hang) Lekiu on corner of Jalan Tanjong. The mosque, built in 1748 is one of the oldest mosques in Malaysia. Although the architecture of this mosque is of Sumatran-influence with a three-tiered wooden roof, the styling of the building is a mix of many influences. It is one of the few mosques with a pagoda instead of a minaret. The verandah around the prayer hall is held up by a series of Corinthian columns, reflecting European influencehttp://www.orientalarchitecture.com . For more on its unique architecture go here at http://archnet.org
Tranquerah Mosque or Masjid Tengkera, located on Jalan Tengkerah. Built in 1728 of Javanese-Sumatran design, minaret and roof structure similar to Kampong Keling mosque. Renovation in 1890 and later in 1910 added Chinese and European motifs and construction methods.
Sultan Hussein Mua'zzam Shah ibni Mahmud Shah Alam was the 18th ruler of Johor. Sultan Hussein was responsible for the 'sale' of Singapore to the British in 1819. Sir Stamford Raffles in return gave him recognition as the Sultan of Johor and Singapore in 1819 and the Sultan of Johor in 1824. But Sultan Hussein's role was no more than a puppet ruler. Sultan Hussein passed away on 5 September 1835 and was laid to rest at the Tranquerah Mosque grounds.
For more on the mosque, go here at http://www.orientalarchitecture.com
Melaka River at Night. A stroll along the river is a joy. The council has cleaned up the river and the river banks, making it pleasant for evening walks after a visit to the night market at Jonkers street during weekends. But what's with the ghostly, eerie lighting? Befuddling....
Melaka River Cruise, located at The Malacca River jetty in front of the Quayside Heritage Centre. Departs daily: every 30-45 minutes from 9am to 11.30pm. Tickets: Adult RM10, child below 12: RM5. Malacca River Cruise can be contacted at +6 06-281 4322
Miss those days when the warehouses and shanty shacks existed along the riverbanks though. That gave a lot of character to the entire scene to old, historical Malacca.
Duck Tours Melaka, ticket booth located at Menara Taming Sari next to the Melaka Revolving Tower, Open from 9.00am till 5.00pm . Fee : Adult RM38 Child (3-12yrs) RM22. This is a 38-seater amphibious vehicle will enter the sea at Pulau Melaka and cruise towards famous Sungai Melaka ... a 45 to 60-minute will also take passengers to several interesting sites such as A’ Famosa Fort, Melaka Sultanate Palace, Dataran Pahlawan Megamall, Mahkota Parade and Pulau Melaka.
Crocodile Farm, located on Jalan Ayer Keroh, 15 km east of Melaka Town. Only if you have really nothing else to do and already on your way out of Melaka town. Try the Melaka Zoo instead, if you have time on your hands. Located in Ayer Keroh about 13km from Melaka town. Visiting Hours :
9.00 am - 6.00 pm daily. Entrance Fees: Adult (13 years old and above ) RM7.00, Children ( 5 years old – 12 years old ) RM4.00 . Many orphaned or rescued wildlife are sent here to this state zoo. I personally have no idea why anyone would like to visit croc farms... after all, they will one day be turned into skins for bags etc.. just waiting for their time at the slaughter waiting dens.
Old Trades in Melaka Core making way for New Trades.
Over the past decade, Melaka has slowly made its changes from a sleepy
town with antique shops and small trades like blacksmiths and
traditional biscuit makers , rattan shops making way for the boutique
B&Bs , souvenir & gift shops bearing all sorts imported from
China , cafes and trendy bistros. Here are some of the old and some of
the new and also some of the old that are holding back the urges to sell
out their heritage for a quick profit.
New Trades / Revamped Trades