A' Famosa Fort
A’Famosa is more than just quick photo stop opportunity for tourists. Built in 1511, the settlement used to sprawl across a whole hillside but now only a lone gate (Porta de Santiago) remains. One of the oldest surviving European architectural remains in Asia; it is set beside the Istana ke Sultanan on Jalan Kota. A’Famosa is one of the Malacca’s best known sightseeing spot. Originally constructed by Alfonso de Albuquerque (who led the Portuguese invasion on the Malacca Sultanate), the remains of the fort is now a crumbling whitewashed gatehouse and is located downhill from St. Paul’s Church.
St Paul Church
The ruins of St. Paul’s Church are at the summit of St. Paul’s Hill. Built on the site of the last Malaccan sultan’s istana (palace), it was constructed by Portuguese fidalgo (nobleman) captain, Duarte Coelho, in gratitude to the Virgin Mary for saving his life during a storm at sea. Roofless and covered in ferns, it was originally called the Nossa Senhora da Annunciada (Our Lady of the Annunciation). Though it has been in ruins for more than 150 years, it is a beautiful, breezy sanctuary (reached after a steep flight of stairs) set near the remains of A’ Famosa fort.
Jonker Street – the centre street of Chinatown – was once renowned for its antique shops. However over the years it has turned to clothing and crafts outlets as well as restaurants. The best part of Jonker Street is the night market on Fridays and Saturdays that sells everything from tasty treats to cheap keepsakes.
Christ Church built by the Dutch when they took possession of Malacca from the Portuguese, it’s one of Malacca’s most defining structures. Situated along Jalan Gereja (also known as Church Street) it is an instantly recognizable brick-red building with a huge white cross at the top. Sitting opposite the Stadhuys, Christ Church was built in 1753 to celebrate a century of Dutch occupation. The interior of the cathedral has 200 year-old handmade pews, decorative fanlights and plaques that honour Dutch soldiers and locals.
The Stadthuys is believed to be the oldest-surviving Dutch building in the East. Part of Malacca town square’s prominent Dutch colonial architecture it is a massive bright terracotta-red riverfront building that was once the official residence of Dutch governors and officers.
Built between 1641 and 1660 on the ruins of a Portuguese fort, The Stadthuys of Malacca was the focus point of several successive governments (Dutch, Portuguese, British etc.) for over 300 years, from its completion until 1980. In 1982, Stadthuys was converted into a museum. The Stadthuys displays typical features of Dutch colonial architecture with massive walls, louvred windows and chunky doors with wrought-iron hinges.
Opening Hours: ;
Monday – Thursday: 09:00 – 17:00
Friday – Sunday: 09:00 – 20:30
Melaka Sultanate Palace
Melaka Sultanate Palace is a wooden replica of Sultan Mansur Shah’s 15th-century palace. Set at the base of St. Paul’s Hill it was painstakingly constructed in 1985 using traditional construction techniques and materials, based on accounts in the 16th century, Sejarah Melayu (Malay Annals) text. According to the annals, Sultan Mansur Shah’s seven-tiered palace was built entirely without nails and supported with carved, wooden pillars and featured a copper and zinc roof. The most elaborate royal palace ever constructed in the world in 1459. According to the annals it was destroyed the year after the sultan ascended the throne when it was struck by lightning.
Wednesday – Monday: 09:00 – 17:30
Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum
At the beginning of the 16th century, merchants and entrepreneurs were lured to Malacca’s shores due to stories of the city’s burgeoning success and wealth. In particular the city saw an influx of Chinese traders who arrived in droves in an effort to escape Manchu rule. These entrepreneurs went on to marry local Malay women – descendents of these marriages were known as Peranakan or ‘Straits-born Chinese’. Their relative success resulted in these expatriate merchants becoming the principal wealth catalysts of the thriving city. The ‘Babas’ (male Sino-Malays) flaunted their affluence by purchasing Dutch townhouses and transforming them into out-and-out palaces. The interiors of these homes were opulent and stuffed to the tee with Dutch-influenced fixtures including hand-painted tiles and Victorian lamps.
Monday – Saturdays: 10:00 – 12:30 & 14:00 – 16:30
Malacca River Cruise
The Malacca River is the river that cuts across Malacca town, on its way to the Straits of Malacca. It separates the civic district clustered at the foot of St Paul’s Hill, from the residential and commercial district of Heeren Street and Jonker Street. A flotilla of small boats transports sightseers up and down past historic buildings, old warehouses (godowns), interesting mangrove stands, churches, and villages. The 1998 Sean Connery movie Entrapment was partially filmed here. Tours last about 45 minutes in boats ranging from 20- to 40-seaters, and normally a minimum of eight passengers is required before departure.
You can departure on Muara Jetty, next to Quayside Heritage Centre, close to the Maritime Museum easily recognisable by the replica of the Portuguese ship Flor De la Mar. From here the cruise takes you upstream as far as Taman Rempah jetty where the boat turns around and brings you back to the starting point.
Opening Hours: 09:00AM – 12:00AM