The red church
Published/Last edited or updated: 11th May, 2017
Melaka’s iconic red church presides over the historic Dutch Square, the centre of the UNESCO heritage-listed colonial quarter.
To commemorate the centenary of the Dutch conquest of Portuguese Melaka in 1741, the foundation stone was laid for a new Dutch Reform Church, completed 12 years later. As with neighbouring Stadthuys, bricks and stone were shipped from the Netherlands as ballast in the otherwise empty hulls of the trading ships of the Dutch East Indies Company.
In 1838 after Melaka was transferred to British rule, the church was re-consecrated with the rites of the Church of England and renamed Christ Church Melaka. Today it’s Malaysia’s oldest functioning Protestant church under the Malaysian Anglican Diocese. The striking red exterior features a triple-arched entry, a visual reference to the holy trinity.
Contrasting with the red, a no-nonsense whitewashed interior offers a cool escape from Melaka’s heat and in keeping with the Dutch style is rather austere, with little decoration nor stained glass. The ceiling features heavy exposed beams and embedded in the floor you can find Dutch and Armenian tombstones. Dark wooden pews are comfortable with woven rattan sets and backrests to allow cool air to circulate. Sad memorials line the walls, telling tales of young families lost to epidemics.
Sunday services are conducted in English (08:30), Mandarin (10:30), Malaysian (16:30) and Tamil (17:00).
Sally spent twelve years leading tourists around Indonesia and Malaysia where she collected a lot of stuff. She once carried a 40kg rug overland across Java. Her house has been described as a cross between a museum and a library. Fuelled by coffee, she can often be found riding her bike or petting stray cats. Sally believes travel is the key to world peace.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.
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