Melaka where it all began!
Founded some 600 years ago, Melaka (or Malacca as it used to be known) is where the history of Malaysia began. The city is rich with historical and cultural attractions and is easy to get to, being located on the main highway that bisets Peninsular Malaysia, only 120 km south-east of Malaysia's capital, Kuala Lumpur and 250 km north-west of Singapore.
A visit to Melaka is a must for foreign and local tourists. Places of interest include mausoleum of the legendary Malay warrior, Hang Tuah, Hang Tuah's Well, the mausoleum of Tun Teja ( a princess at the centre of the Hang Tuah legend), the replica of the Melaka Sultan's Palace, A Famosa (the remains of the Portuguese fort), The Stadthuys (the Dutch administrative complex), St. Francis Xavier's Church and a variety of Museums.
Chinese who came to Melaka and adopted Malay customs and language were known as Baba and Nyonya and traces of their heritage (known as Peranakan) can be seen in Chinatown as well as at the Baba and Nyonya Heritage museum. The adventurous may visit the well of Hang Li Poh ( a princess from China who married the fifth ruler of Melaka) and then walk-up Bukit China (Chinese Hill) to get a panoramic view of the historic city.
Another main attraction of Melaka is the variety of food including Nyonya, Thai, Chinese, Indian, Chitty and Portuguese cuisine, in addition to the always delightful Malay cuisine.
To experience heavenly holiday bliss, travellers can also enjoy a tropical island getaway at Pulau Besar and Pulau Upeh by taking the frequent boat services to the islands.Agoda.com/malacca-melaka
A Brief History of Melaka
The refugees settled first at Muar, Johor, but were quickly driven away by a huge number of monitor lizards which refused to move. The second spot chosen seemed equally unfavourable, as the fortress that the refugees began to build, collapsed immediately.
Parameswara and his followers moved on. Soon afterward, during a hunt near the mouth of a river called Bertam, he saw a white mouse-deer or pelanduk, kick one of his hunting dogs. So impressed was he by the mouse-deer's brave gesture that he decided immediately to build a city on the spot. He asked one of his servants the name of the tree under which he was resting and, being informed that the tree was called a Malaka, gave that name to the city. The year was 1400.
Although its origin is as much romance as history, the fact is that Parameswara's new city was situated at a point of tremendous strategic importance. Midway along the straits that linked China to India and the Near East, Melaka was perfectly positioned as a centre for maritime trade. The city grew rapidly, and within fifty years it had become a wealthy and powerful hub of international commerce, with a population of over 50,000.
It was during this period of Melaka's history that Islam was introduced to the Malay world, arriving along with Gujarati traders from western India. By the first decade of the sixteenth century Melaka was a bustling, cosmopolitan port, attracting hundreds of ships each year. The city was known worldwide as a centre for the trade of silk and porcelain from China; textiles from Gujarat and Coromandel in India; camphor from Borneo; sandalwood from Timor; nutmeg, mace, and cloves from the Moluccas, gold and pepper from Sumatra; and tin from western Malaya.
Unfortunately, this fame arrived at just the moment when Europe began to extend its power into the East, and Melaka was one of the very first cities to attract its covetous eye. The Portuguese under the command of Alfonso de Albuquerque arrived first, taking the city after a sustained bombardment in 1511.
The Sultan Mahmud, who was then the ruler of Melaka, fled to Johor, from where the Malays counter-attacked the Portuguese repeatedly though without success. One reason for the strength of the Portuguese defence was the construction of the massive fortification of A Famosa or Porta De Santiago, only a small portion of which survives today.
A Famosa ensured Portuguese control of the city for the next one hundred and fifty years, until, in 1641, the Dutch after an eight-month siege and a fierce battle in 1641, captured Melaka.The city was almost completely ruined but over the next century and a half, the Dutch rebuilt it and occupied it largely as a military base, using its strategic location to control the Straits of Malacca.
In 1795, when the Netherlands was captured by French Revolutionary armies, Melaka was handed over to the British by the Dutch to avoid its capture by the French. Although the British returned the city to the Dutch in 1808, it was soon given back to the British once again in a trade for Bencoleen in Sumatra.
From 1826, the English East India Company in Calcutta ruled the city until 1867, when the Straits Settlements ( Melaka, Penang and Singapore ) became a British Crown colony. The British continued their control until the Second World War and the Japanese occupation from 1942 to 1945.
Following the defeat of the Japanese, the British resumed their control until 31st. August 1957,www.tourism-melaka.com - Cached
POWER OF THE TAMING SARI
The kris belonging to Malacca warrior Hang Tuah is now part of Perak’s royal regalia, writes Diana Yeoh, New Straits Times
When talking about the Kris Taming Sari, one always thinks of the legendary Hang Tuah of Malacca. But did you know that the prized kris, said to have magical powers, is now in the possession of the Perak royal family?
Legend has it that in the 15th. Century, the Sultan of Malacca, Sultan Mansur Shah, traveled to Java to ask for the hand of Majapahit princess Raden Galoh Chandra Kirana. Hang Tuah, the Sultan’s favourite warrior, was part of the entourage of palace officials.
But the officials, envious of Hang Tuah, had murder on their minds. They engaged a Javanese warrior, Taming Sari, to do the job but Hang Tuah won the fight. Not only did he kill Taming Sari, but he was also “awarded?with the dead man’s kris.
Back in Malacca, Hang Tuah handed the kris to Tun Mamat, with instructions that it was to be given to Sultan Mahmud if he (Hang Tuah) failed to persuade Puteri Gunung Ledang to marry the Sultan.
When the Portuguese conquered Malacca in 1511, Sultan Mahmud took the kris with him when he fled to Johor-Riau and later to Kampar in Sumetera. He then gave the kris and other State regalia to his son, Muzaffar, who was later proclaimed the first Sultan of Perak, taking on the name of Sultan Muzaffar Shah in 1528.
This was how Taming Sari ended up in Perak and it was passed on to the Sultan’s successors till present day.
It was displayed at the Galeri Sultan Azlan Shah in Kuala Kangsar in May 2007 when the present Sultan of Perak, Sultan Azlan Shah, celebrated his 79th. Birthday.
The kris has a handle and sheath made of gold. The blade is made of 20 types of metal composites, some said to come from the bolts that held the gates of the Kaabah in Mecca.
It is believed that the kris can “fly?and seek out the owner’s enemy. It could even “rattle?in its sheath to warn its owner of potential danger.
It is now kept at the Istana Iskandariah Bukit Chandan, Kuala Kangsar, and can only be handled by the Sultan and the keeper of the palace regalia, Toh Seri Nara Di-Raja Mohd Sah Nong Chik.
Is there proof that this is indeed Hang Tuah’s Taming Sari? A manuscript dating back more than 300 years, has been found in Terengganu. It throws some light on the mystical kris as it describes the weapon in detail. There is even a diagram of a kris, labeled the Taming Sari, resembling that in the possession of the Perak royal family. A visual comparison shows that there are similarities between the Taming Sari in Perak and the kris in the diagram.
Webmaster: Another popular legend mentioned that Hang Tuah, having failed in ?/span>his mission to Gunung Ledang, threw the Taming Sari into the Duyung River. Many believe that if the Taming Sari kris rises from the river bed of Duyung River, Melaka will become famous and prosperous again.