If Malaysia is a melting pot, then Melaka(Also known as Malacca) is its cultural crucible – where six hundred years of warfare and ethnic intermarriage have formed the core of what has evolved into the modern nation. Haunted by the ghosts of battles past, Melaka is well worth a visit, even for visitors who normally bypass cultural destinations, if only to sample the several unique local cuisines and to glimpse the layers of history beneath the city’s outer shell.
Present-day Melaka reflects its tumultuous history – a multi-racial population of Malays, Indians, and Chinese call this historic city home. Most notably, Peranakan and Portuguese communities still thrive in Melaka, a reminder of the state’s long experience with trading and colonization.
The Dutch, who held Melaka for over a century, left many fine buildings marking their heritage. The most imposing relic of the Dutch period is the Stadthuys, a strikingly pink town hall which is today the oldest Dutch building in the Far East. Right next to it stands the bright red Christ Church, constructed with pink bricks imported from Holland and covered with local red lacerite. Today, these buildings together with the ruins of the Portuguese built A Famosa and St. Paul’s Church are the most prominent reminders of the Europeans’ presence in Melaka.
Jonker Street or also called as the Jalan Hang Jebat is a busy street in Melaka. This street is mainly famous for its row of antique shops holding a variety of antique pieces and the unique local food fare that are available when night arrives. The street was once an affluent street in the Dutch colonial era. However, now the street gets flooded with tourists, who come here from all around the world in search of beautiful antique artifacts. The buildings, houses and shops here are constructed with elaborated carvings on the walls and pillars. These buildings reflect the culture of the Strait Chinese people.
At night, the streets have a carnival like ambiance. The shops and buildings are generally decorated with flashy lights and other decorative stuff. Tourists floods the street sampling the local delights, chilling and enjoying a drink at a local cafe or even hunting for a souvenir for their love ones.