Striking Malay architecture
Melaka Sultanate Palace Museum is a striking example of traditional Malay architecture along with a serene botanical park known as the Forbidden Garden.
The multi-tiered structure with a series of peaked roofs is a 1984 "replica" of the palace of Sultan Mansur Shah, who ruled Melaka in the 15th century, prior to the Portuguese annexation. The original palace may have been built in front of the Melaka River where the Dutch Square is today, or more likely on top of St Paul’s Hill near the ruins of St Paul’s Church, however you’ll find this reproduction at the eastern foot of St Paul’s Hill near the Porta de Santiago. Plans were based on descriptions found in the Sejarah Melayu (Malay Annals), a romanticised literary history of the Melakan Sultanate written in the 17th century.
The building is finely crafted from local timbers (resak, chengal and nyatoh for folks who are into tropical hardwoods), with the roof, ironwood shingles, from Sarawak. Four main pillars support the 75 metre-long palace and in keeping with traditional methods, no nails were used, with a series of dowels and wedges providing structural support (some nails are used in nonstructural elements). The interior walls are carved with detailed floral decoration.
Remove your footwear to climb the beautiful polished timber staircase to the cultural museum filled with dioramas of royal ceremonial and private chambers, along with historical scenes and artefacts from the time of the Sultans. Displays of Malay traditional costume will be of interest to folk into historical fashion and for architecture buffs small framed wooden models of palaces around Malaysia may delight. We found ambling the cool, darkened corridors of this impressive traditional longhouse-style building a worthwhile enough reason to visit.
If you’re tired from walking, take a break in one of the coin-operated massage chairs and flick though a book on Melaka’s history from the small library. Wander into the formal palace garden filled with fragrant flowering plants and herbs, ponds, trellised archways and shady spots to take a breather. Visit the museum as part of a tour of Melaka’s historical sights where you’ll approach by climbing over St John’s Hill or walk directly around the base via Jalan Kota.
Address: Jalan Kota, Melaka
T: (06) 282 6526;
Coordinates (for GPS): 102º15'1.56" E, 2º11'31.85" N
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Admission: Adults 5 ringgit, children 2 ringgit
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.
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