When I entered the old historical town of Melaka, I was immediately drawn to the “pink” church with its many rickshaws parking all over the square. Those rickshaws were also decorated as brightly as the church, with flowers and often with a sound system playing some songs. I guess they were trying to be attractive for the tourists.
I took the bus from Singapore to visit Melaka and had only 2 days and a night to indulge everything in Melaka. Food, of course, was my main reason to come, but apart from its delicious bites, Melaka is actually an interesting and historical place.
Since my foodie list was quite long, my friend, Pamela, and I decided that we would eat then stroll around the city to empty our stomach and then eat again once we got tired and hungry. It was quite a strategy and worked really well.
Around the old town of Melaka, I could clearly see the Peranakan influence. Long ago when the Chinese came to settle in Melaka, they mingled with the locals. This included marrying local people, resulting a fusion of Chinese and local cultures. I was happy to find Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum in which I learned a lot about the way they lived. I also tried the famous Peranakan cuisine in Melaka, and I must say that it really suited my tastebud. It tasted quite a lot of what I’m used to. I guess it’s because I too have Peranakan blood flowing through me. I do think, however, that the Peranakan culture is so much more preserved here in Melaka.
Crossing the river, I arrived to the square that caught my attention the first time. Dutch Square it’s called. The pink church is actually called Christ Church and was built around 1741 and 1753. This is a Protestant church and is the oldest in Melaka. The church has a Dutch colonial architecture. I felt somehow familiar with this kind of architecture as it can also be seen in Java. This 18th century church replaced a Portuguese church which once stood here.
After admiring the church, we took the path up the hill. I wanted to see St Paul’s Church, an old church built in 1521 by the Portuguese then it turned into a fortress. The walk to the hill was not difficult though we stopped once or twice to take pictures of the beauty of Melaka from above. It was really scorching hot when I was there but after arriving on the hill, I could see the stunning ruin that is St Paul’s church.
This church was originally called Our Lady of the Hill and it was intended to be a simple chapel. In front of the church is a statue St. Francis Xavier. He once used this church as his base as he did missionary journeys to China and Japan. Xavier with the help of two others, built a school in the Malay peninsula. Sadly he died during one of his missionary journeys. The statue is fairly new, built in 1952. I noticed that one of the arms was missing, turns out that the day the statue was consecrated, a large tree fell on it and broke the arm. From what I read, in 1614, the right arm of Xavier was detached as a relic. Coincidence?
Since the church is now only a ruin, the rooftop was no longer there but the skeleton of the building was still standing strong. Inside the ruin, I could see tombstones everywhere, some were attached to the walls.
While browsing around, I hear a faint voice singing. There was a man doing a little gig with his guitar, all of the sudden everything seemed to slow down.
As I was listening to the guy singing, I spotted a small path by the side of the ruin. There were more tombstones here, but I was interested in the small path. I didn’t really know where it would lead me, but there were trees surrounding it, making the path seemed mysterious and dark. Pamela and I decided to see where the path would lead us.
No one was around, we were the only one walking. We went downhill and finally saw a road. As we reached the end, we noticed a graveyard. “The Dutch Graveyard” it was called, a Dutch mausoleum used in the 17th century. The tombs were mostly white. It was so peaceful and quiet.
After admiring the mausoleum, we decided that we were ready to taste more bites in Melaka and so we walked back to the old city.
Melaka is truly a fun place to be. There are so many cultures mixed into this city and it was truly fascinating to spend the day wandering around here.
This week’s theme: Your Favourite Oldest City