Bukit Melaka or Melaka Hill

5 Historic Must-Visit Places In Malacca

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The UNESCO heritage city of Malacca is a vibrant city that is rich in history, making it one of the major tourist attractions in Malaysia. Malacca was once a significant trade center in the east. The colonial era started when the Portuguese conquered Malacca in 1511 from the early Chinese and Malay Sultanates, followed by the Dutch and the British. This blog lists five historic monuments in Malacca city that are worth visiting. Do stop by while you’re in the city.

Historic Places to Visit in Malacca

Melaka or Malacca world heritage city, Malaysia

1. The Ruins of St. Paul’s Church

St. Paul's Church, Melaka

The St. Paul’s Church is a chapel built by the Catholic Portuguese at the summit of St. Paul’s Hill or Malacca Hill in 1521. It is also known as the Chapel of Mother of God (Madre de Deus) or Our Lady of the Hill (Nossa Senhora do Oiteiro). Today, only the ruins of the church remain. There are many tombstones on the hill. From the top, you can also see an aerial view of Malacca.

  • Entry Fee: Free
  • Timings: No restrictions. Go early to avoid the crowd.

2. Porta De Santiago (Kota A’Famosa)

Kota A Famosa or Porta De Santiago

A prominent landmark in Malacca is the Kota A’Famosa, a Portuguese name that translates to “The Famous.” It is one of the few oldest surviving remnants of European architecture in Asia. It was built by the Portuguese Admiral Alfonso de Albuquerque during the Portuguese invasion in 1511. The fortress was built to consolidate their gains in Malacca after they defeated the armies of the Malacca Sultanate.

The gates of the A’Famosa bear the logo of the Dutch company VOC (Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie), which was inscribed on the gates in 1641.

  • Entry Fee: Free
  • Timings: No restrictions.

3. The Stadthuys (Red Square)

Stadthuys Melaka, Malaysia

The red-colored building complex at the heart of the history city is the Stadthuys Museum complex. The Stadhuys – meaning ‘The Town Hall’ – was built by the Dutch in the 1650s after they took over Malacca from the Portuguese in 1641. Although many changes were made after the British took over, the features of Dutch architecture, such as the thick stone walls, large windows, and doors, remain intact to this day. It also remains one of the oldest surviving European structures in the Far East of Asia.

The Christ Church, just opposite the Stadthuys building, is the oldest Protestant Church in Malaysia. Construction took 12 years and was completed in 1753. The church has 8-foot-long ceiling beams, which are cut in one piece and constructed without any joints. The handmade pews are said to be original and date to about 200 years ago.

  • Timings: 9 AM – 5:30 PM, closed on Mondays.
  • Entry Fee: Free

4. Malacca Sultanate Palace

Malacca sultanate palace

Today’s Malacca Sultanate Palace was rebuilt based on annotations in the ancient ‘Sejarah Melayu’ (Malay Annals) and in consultation with the Malaysian Historical Society (Malacca Branch) and the Artists’ Association of Malacca. The building you see today is a replica of the palace from the reign of Sultan Mansur Shah (1456-1477). 

The palace has a multi-tiered roof, with the first tier being the longest, measuring 246 feet long and 41 feet wide. It is supported by four central pillars and other forms of reinforcement.

The construction materials consist of local timber, such as Resak, Chengal, and Nyatoh, and the roof is made of Belian wood from Sarawak.

The walls are decorated with beautiful carvings of floral and plant motifs, including the Ketam Guri. Among the interesting exhibits in the museum are the dioramas of the Balairong Seri, the Royal Bedchamber, the fight between Hang Tuah and Hang Jebat, and other exhibition materials such as a variety of weaponry, traditional costumes, ceramics, and brassware.

  • Timings: 9 AM – 12:15 PM, 2:45 – 5:30. The palace is closed on Mondays, and the counter closes at 4:30 PM.
  • Entry Fee: For MyKad holders, RM 10 is for adults, and RM 5 is for children. For non-MyKad holders, RM 20 is for adults, and RM 10 is for children.

5. St. John’s Fort (Kota St John)

Located 2 km from Malacca city, St. John’s Fort is perched on a small hill. The chapel dedicated to St. John the Baptist, which the Portuguese built on the hill, was destroyed in 1628/ 29. After that, the Dutch built the fort with laterite and bricks. It is surrounded by four cannons facing different directions. The view from the fort is too good to miss!

There are no shops or restaurants in the vicinity, so make sure to pack some snacks and water, especially if you have kids. There are no entry fees or timing restrictions for the fort, but we recommend you visit during the daytime. There are a lot of monkeys in the area. Keep your snacks and belongings safe, as they are notorious.

Other Places to Visit

Beyond these historical places, Malacca offers a variety of activities to engage visitors of all age groups. We have listed 12 activities to do in Malacca that you shouldn’t miss, along with other vital information including how to reach, commute around, where to eat and stay, and so much more. Do check it out.

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