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Melaka

Central Region, Malaysia

Malaysian Malays trace their cultural roots all the way to the Melaka Sultanate. Visit SoutheastAsia.
Photo Credit: Mike Aquino

Malaysian Malays trace their cultural roots all the way to the Melaka Sultanate, a powerful state that ruled most of the peninsula and traded with Imperial China, Persia and India. Two of Malaysia’s present sultans claim descent from Melaka royalty.

Even in present-day Melaka, the city’s glorious history still shines through from the many temples, museums, and ruins, all visible within a day’s walking tour around town. The reconstructed Melaka Sultanate palace, the Porta de Santiago, Christ Church, and the ruins of St. Paul’s Church point to Melaka’s Malay and colonial past—the Portuguese, Dutch, and English successively ruled here and left their mark.

Across the river, Jonker Street and the surrounding old district reveals Melaka’s mercantile roots. Beyond good shopping value, this district showcases some precious historical finds worthy of its UNESCO World Heritage Site status, like the Baba Nyonya Heritage House museum and a “Street of Harmony” hosting houses of worship for three different faiths.