Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Christ Church and the Stadthuys (Red Square) - Melaka Part 2

Christ Church is Melaka’s number 1 tourist attraction! And the Stadthuys, otherwise known as the “Red Square” is its most visited town square! London has Trafalgar Square, Melaka has Stadthuys! To tourists who don’t know where to start their city visit, this should be your first stop!

From KL, my Delima Bus took 2 hours to reach Melaka Sentral. Upon arrival, I hopped on Town Bus no. 17 (green), and paid my 1.50 ringgit fare ($0.30 or PhP21.50). The terminal is 4 ½ kilometers east of the city center (Heritage Trail). We slid past shops and buildings until we were plying Jalan Laksamana, heading towards the Red Square. I told the bus conductor, “Stadthuys!” And he nodded with disinterest. The shops and convenience stores turned into a row of uniformly painted red buildings. I knew I was close! These newly painted “red” buildings were to harmonize with the Dutch heritage so proudly flaunted in Melaka! After all, the Dutch were their lords for 183 years!

I got the nod from the conductor so when the bus made its stop, I jumped from my bus and into the magnificent Red Square – the Stadthuys! There were multitudes of tourists, and the atmosphere invoked a festive party of anonymous strangers! In spite of myself, I gasped from the scenery before me! It was just beautiful – like trotting ever so gently back in time! And it’s not even my first time here!

Jalan Laksamana

Jalan Laksamana - Once you see the red buildings, its 50 meters ahead from Stadthuys!

To my left was Christ Church, the path leading to it was lined with trishaws gaudily decked with a kaleidoscope of plastic flowers.

Christ Church was built by the ruling Dutch empire in 1741 to commemorate the centenary (100 years) of the capture of Malacca from the Portuguese. This was to take over the Portuguese-constructed St. Paul’s Church (then called Bovenkerk) up the hill as the primary place of worship for the Dutch. Originally painted in white, the building was painted red in 1911 – the distinctive color scheme which has become a hallmark for the Dutch regime!

Photography isn’t allowed inside, but what we see isn’t as spectacular as I’d have expected. The wooden pews and frieze of “The Last Supper” were hand crafted, but the more interesting bits were the tombstones bearing inscriptions from Portuguese as well as Armenian traders. One of which we share here:

I, Jacob, grandson of Shamier, an Armenian of a respectable family whose name I keep, was born in Persia near Inefa, where my parents now forever sleep. Fortune brought me to distant Malacca, which my remains in bondage to keep. Separated from the world on 7th July 1774 A.D. at the age of 29, my mortal remains were deposited in this spot of the ground which I purchased.

With the change of hand, Christ Church was later consecrated as an Anglican Church, as it is now. The weathercock atop the bell tower is a British addition!

Since photography wasn't allowed inside... this photo only courtesy of wongfookyee.com.

There's a stall at the right side of the church hall selling candles and religious items, including a local recording called "Back to You volume 1 - Day by Day". An american lady's exuberant praise recommending this recording called our attention. Though we're not overly religious, we were curious, so for 10 ringgit (or was it 15?) we got ourselves a copy. The CD has 7 tracks, mostly sung in English, and composed by Lawrence Quek and Terence Khoo. One track ("Thank You Jesus For Your Love") was attributed to "the late Tony Khoo", sung in Chinese. Though appreciation of the arts, like music, is a subjective experience, this wouldn't be among my favorites, although it is a decent recording that's heavy on reverb much like a Karaoke number.

Bicycle rickshaws

The Stadthuys (which literally means “town hall”) – or the Red Square – was built 9 years after the Dutch started their rule in 1641. This became the office of the Dutch Governor and his deputy! These days, it is home to the Museum of History and Ethnography – the city’s premier museum. If there is a single museum worth visiting in Melaka, this would be it! However, if you only have a few hours on a day tour, would you rather spend them indoors?

The cobbled lane between Christ Church and Stadthuys have souvenir shops that cater to the wealthy tourists. This isn’t your place for souvenir items – if you’re scrimping! But it’s nevertheless a pleasant stroll to take.

This is the Eye in the Sky!

The Clock Tower


The Red Square

Souvenirs for sale!

Part 1 - Overview: A Little History of Melaka - http://eye-in-the-blue-sky.blogspot.com/2010/08/melaka-giddy-with-delight-in-new-old.html

Our first ever Melakan visit here - http://eye-in-the-blue-sky.blogspot.com/2007/12/fascinating-malacca-malaysia.html

Up next: Jonker's Street and Melaka River

Map of Central Melaka


Trotter said...

Hi Eye! This one I know; and bought a painting... But where is the «Famosa»? ;))

Blogtrotter Two is back to the sea... ;). Make the most of it and have a spectacular week ahead!

eye in the sky said...

Would it be alright if I just say A'Famosa is a bit out of the way from Melaka? LOL

red_starlight said...

sharing my Melaka experience...

your pictures are great! I only had a small point and shoot :)

eye in the sky said...

I enjoyed reading your Melakan post as well. Thanks for sharing.

Point & shoot cam is ok. In fact, some of the photos on queue down below this page were from a (Canon) point & shoot (some Angkor photos). As long as you get to capture your holiday visit to document your travel, they'll suffice.

Great post: http://onlyfortoday.blogspot.com/2010/04/2010-summer-adventure-melaka-malaysia.html

pamatayhomesick said...

nice capture!.. beauty in every detail of the photo.:)

eye in the sky said...

Salamat. I find it really eye catching everywhere you look in that area.