The Grand Tour XI – Traços Portugueses: Malacca, Malaysia

Close-up of La Porta do Santiago, Malaqa

Close-up of La Porta do Santiago, Malaqa

Malacca is the first European colony, and the most colonised city in Southeast Asia, having been taken over by the Portuguese in 1511, and having had not just one colonial master, but three (the Dutch from 1641, and the British from 1824).

In essence, Malacca is a palimpsest – a sort of canvas that has been written over and over again by successive writers, or in this case, civilisations.  Think mille-feuille, or layer cake; or, if one is local, those many layered, rainbow-coloured, nonya kueh kueh.

As in any palimpsest, the top layers are never the most important; in the same way, it is Malacca’s Portuguese roots that continue to not only be important, but also very very palpable in the city today; despite the Portuguese having been despatched with more then 3 centuries ago.

This chapter tackles the history of Portuguese Malaqa, how it has endured to this day through the Portgueuse Creole people, or Kristangs; and how it is making somewhat of a resurgence.

Portuguese Tombstone in St Paul's Church

Portuguese Tombstone in St Paul’s Church

Christchurch - a more view of Malacca, installed by the Dutch

Christchurch – a more view of Malacca, installed by the Dutch

Pier at the Portuguese Settlement

Pier at the Portuguese Settlement

About Kennie Ting

I am a wandering cityophile and pattern-finder who is pathologically incapable of staying in one place for any long period of time. When I do, I see the place from different perspectives, obsessive-compulsively.
Gallery | This entry was posted in Art & Architecture, Cities & Regions, Culture & Lifestyle, Landmarks & History, Literature & Philosophy, Photography, Travel & Mobility and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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