Photo: Put your history hat on.

Colonial district walking tour

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The heart of Melaka’s colonial district is the conspicuous cluster of Indian-red buildings dominating the southern bank of the Melaka River at the foot of St Paul’s Hill. From here, climb over the hillside and circle its base to explore the vestiges and museums of this historical area, enclosed by the ruins of old Portuguese fortifications.





Dutch Square, or the Red Square, is one of the oldest areas in the city, presided over by church and state: the Stadthuys, Melaka’s former town hall and governor’s residence during the Dutch administration built in the 1650s, and Christ Church dating from 1753. Adjacent to the church, one of Melaka’s first schools and subsequently the General Post Office, now houses the Malaysian Youth Museum and Melaka Art Gallery.

Indian-red everywhere. Photo taken in or around Colonial district walking tour, Melaka, Malaysia by Sally Arnold.

Indian-red everywhere. Photo: Sally Arnold

Additions to the precinct during British rule include the carved marble Queen Victoria Fountain commemorating the diamond jubilee of the monarch in 1904 and the Clock Tower, built in 1886 to honour Chinese tycoon and philanthropist Tan Beng Swee. Commissioned by his son, the tower is one of several significant contributions made to Melaka over respective generations of this wealthy family. Their former residence is now Hotel Puri in Heeren Street, and the Tan Kim Seng Bridge near the tower was also a gift from the family.

In the 1980s the original British clock face was replaced by a Seiko clock, causing outrage by Melaka’s older residents, who had suffered under Japanese occupation. If you’re looking for a fun (but far from silent) way to get around Melaka, the Stadthuys is the prime pick up point for the town’s famous pimped rickshaws festooned with plastic flowers, stuffed cartoon characters, flashing lights and blasting pop music. Rates are 40 ringgit ... please log in to read the rest of this story.


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