In the 16 century, the Portuguese occupied Melaka. The city soon fell into the hands of the Dutch in the mid-17th century. The Dutch occupied Melaka for 150 years. The Dutch and British allies temporarily governed the city for a brief period. In 1824, Melaka was converted into a British colony. It remained under British occupation until the independence of Malaysia in 1957.
Melaka’s unique history is reflected in its culture and lifestyle. The once backwater Malaysian city has undergone rapid economic boom during the 1990s. Although commercialization has damaged some aspects of the traditional lifestyle of the city, visitors to the city would still witness the colorful multicultural features of this lovely city.
Museums of Melaka
Despite its small size, Melaka is packed with museums. Visitors could catch a glimpse of the Malaysian city’s glorious past in the several museums dotted across the city. The Baba-Nonya Heritage Museum is one of the most popular attractions in Melaka. The museum displays the 19th century lifestyle of the Baba-Nonya community.
The Cheng Ho Cultural Museum is dedicated to a 15th century Chinese Muslim seafarer. The Indian traders who settled in Melaka in the 15th century formed the Chitty community. The traditional lifestyle of this small community is exhibited in the Chitty Museum. The Islamic heritage of the city is displayed in the Islamic Museum. Students of architecture would admire the Architecture Museum that showcases the designs of the local Malay houses.
Fort St John
Originally, Fort St John was a chapel dedicated to St John. The Portuguese chapel was rebuilt and converted into a fort by the Dutch in the 18th century. Perched on top of a hill, the dilapidated fort offers a lovely view of the city.
The bustling China town of Melaka is located in the city center. Jonker Street is noted for its night market, hawkers selling Chinese and Malay delicacies and fortunetellers.
Cheng Hoon Teng Temple
This oldest Chinese temple in Malaysia, dedicated to the goddess of mercy, is noted for its ornamental woodwork. The seafarers visited the temple to seek the blessings of Tianhou, the goddess of seafarers.