Malacca City

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Malacca City
Kota Melaka/Malaca/Malakka
Other transcription(s)
 • Jawi بندر مالاكا
 • Simplified Chinese 马六甲市
 • Tamil மலாக்கா மாநகரம்
From top left: Malacca City skyline, A Famosa, Melaka Sentral, Taming Sari Tower, Church of St. Francis Xavier and Hang Tuah's Well.
Official seal of Malacca City
Nickname(s): Bandaraya Bersejarah
Historical City
Malacca City is located in Peninsular Malaysia
Malacca City
Malacca City
Location in the Peninsula Malaysia
Malacca City is located in Malaysia
Malacca City
Malacca City
Location in Malaysia
Coordinates: 2°12′20.49″N 102°15′22.09″E / 2.2056917°N 102.2561361°E / 2.2056917; 102.2561361Coordinates: 2°12′20.49″N 102°15′22.09″E / 2.2056917°N 102.2561361°E / 2.2056917; 102.2561361
Country  Malaysia
State  Malacca
Founded 1396
Granted city status 2003
 • Mayor Yusof Jantan
 • City 304.29 km2 (117.49 sq mi)
 • Metro 1,664 km2 (642 sq mi)
Elevation[3] 6 m (20 ft)
Population (2010)[4]
 • City 503,127 (11th)
 • Density 689/km2 (1,780/sq mi)
 • Metro 771,600[2]
Time zone MST (UTC+8)
 • Summer (DST) Not observed (UTC)
Postal code 75xxx to 78xxx
Area code(s) 06
Vehicle registration M

Malacca City (Malaysian pronunciation: [ˈbanˈdar ˈmeˈlaˈka], Jawi: بندر مالاكا‎, Chinese: 马六甲市; pinyin: ma liu jia shi, Tamil: மலாக்கா மாநகரம்), formerly known as Kota Melaka, is the capital city of the Malaysian state of Malacca. It is one of the oldest cities in the Straits of Malacca and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site together with George Town of Penang on 7 July 2008.[5]


According to legend, the present-day site of the city was named Melaka when Parameswara who had flee from Sumatra arrived in the site. While he was resting under a tree (known as Melaka tree),[6] he saw his warriors hunting dogs was been challenged and kicked into river by a tiny mouse deer.[7] Amused with the act, he choose to name the site as Melaka since he was resting under a Melaka tree while watching the event.[8] When the town came under Portuguese administration, it was spelled as "Malaca",[9] under Dutch administration as "Malakka" or "Malacka", while under British rule, the town was called as "Malacca". The name of the Straits of Malacca were also inherited from the prosperous Malacca town in the period of Malacca Sultanate.[10]


Founding of Malacca[edit]

Malacca Town was established when Parameswara who had escaped from Palembang in Sumatra decided to built a new kingdom since the fall of Malay Srivijaya in 1377 after been attacked by Javanese Majapahit.[7][11] Before he reach to the site, he arrived in Temasek where he decided to make it as the centre of new Malay Kingdom administration. But when Parameswara lived there, he killed a Malay chief appointed by the Siamese King as the Regent of Singapura named Temagi to take over the throne.[12] Fearing for a further reprisals by Siam when the news began to arrived into the Siamese Kingdom, Parameswara decided to move into a new place while leaving Temasek which was then attacked by Majapahit.[11] He then headed to the north of Malay Peninsula and arriving to Muar where he tried to establish another new kingdom at either Biawak Busuk or Kota Buruk but found the location are very unsuitable to him.[11][13]

He continue his journey to the north where he reportedly visited Sening Ujong (present-day known as Sungai Ujong) before arriving into a Malay fishing village at the mouth of Bertam River (present-day Malacca River). When he arrived at the place, he decided to stop a while to having a rest. While he was resting under a tree, he saw his followers hunting dogs involved in a fight with a small mouse deer then being kicked out into a river.[7] Amused with the event, he thought the place he rest must be an amazing place thus since it happened on 1396 he announced the place would be naming as Melaka.[14] Soon, the site became the centre of the Malay world in the 15th and the 16th century and was the most prosperous entrepôt in the Malay Archipelago.[15] During the time, many Arabs, Persian, Gujaratis, Tamils, Bengalis and Chinese come to trade. Other group found riches in the prosperous of the entrepôt including the Japanese, Siamese and Jews. To prevent the Malaccan empire from being fell into the Siamese and Majapahit, he forged a relationship with the Ming Dynasty of China for protection.[12][16] Since the establishment of the relations, the prosperous of Malacca entrepôt was then recorded by a first Chinese visitor named Ma Huan who travelled together with Admiral Zheng He.[15] On his descriptions, he wrote;

Malacca was a well-established town surrounded by a palisade with four gates and watch towers. Inside the walled towers was a second fortification, a kind of citadel, within whose confines were the merchants' godowns, the treasury and food storehouses. The Malacca River divided the town into two almost equal halves, the southern half being the inner citadel and the ruler's compound and the northern half, reached by a bridge some distance from the river mouth, containing the residents of many foreign merchants. The bridge and its approaches comprised the main venue for all commercial kinds. Constructed on the bridge was about a score of market stalls: an easy location for small watercraft to reach with their loads of produce and also close to the docks where foreign sea-going vessels unloaded goods for transhipment.[15]

— Ma Huan, Chinese Muslim voyager and translator.

Due to the large influence of Arab, Persian and Indian traders, Malacca soon turned into an Islamic sultanate and Parameswara was convert into Islam when he married a princess from Pasai thus changing his name to Sultan Iskandar Shah.[16] During the time, an Hindu-Malay and Tamil-Malay society were also formed. He died on 1414 and the throne was succeeded by his son named Megat Iskandar Shah.[17] Malacca Town continue to prosper until the eight Sultanate of Malacca Mahmud Shah, with different races came to trade with their items identified with particular trade specialties; the Gujaratis, Tamils, and Bengalis were mostly cloth merchant, the Arabs and Persian waiting for their vessels to be filled with goods from China, the Chinese mainly dealt in silk, camphor and porcelain while the natives of Malay Archipelago like the Bugis and other island peoples were mainly spice and sandalwood traders, the Minangkabau bring pepper with some golds and the Javanese mainly controlled the rice and imported foodstuffs.[15] The Chinese established their own place in the town like other traders, occupying the southeast side of the port around a hill called Bukit Cina where they constructed temples and a well called Hang Li Poh's Well named after Hang Li Po, the fifth wife of the sixth Sultan of Malacca Mansur Shah who once to be a princess from the Ming Dynasty.[15]

European conquest[edit]

Portrait of Afonso de Albuquerque, the first European who conquer Malacca.

Due to its riches, the news of the success of Malacca came into the ear of the Portuguese who had established presence on Indian ports.[18] The Portuguese under King Manuel I sent a representative named Diogo Lopes de Sequeira to establish contact with the Sultanate. At the first, Sequeira was well received by Sultan Mahmud Shah. But the Tamil Muslim community who already established presence in Malacca convinced the Sultan to eliminate the Portuguese based on their treatment to the Muslims of Goa.[19] Reacting to the report, Sultan Mahmud then ordered several men from the Portuguese representative to be captured and killed, but some of them managed to escape with their ships.[19] Thus in April 1511, Afonso de Albuquerque who is the Portuguese expedition leader together with his armada arrived in Malacca to sever Islamic trade and Venetian trade.[18][20] His intention was described within his own words when he arrived to Malacca:

If they were only to take "Malaca" out of the hands of the Moors, Cairo and Mecca would be entirely ruined, and Venice would then be able to obtain no spiceries except what her merchants might buy in Portugal.

— Report on Albuquerque's words on his arriving to Malacca.[20]

The Portuguese launch its first attack on 25 July 1511 but met with a failure. Albuquerque then launch another attack on 15 August 1511, the second attack proved to be success as Malacca Town was captured on the day.[20] After successfully capturing the town, the Portuguese constructed a fortress called A Famosa using rocks and stones they get from Muslim graves, mosques and other buildings. A numbers of churches, convents, bishop's palace together with administrative buildings such as governor place were also built. The Portuguese imposed a higher taxes over Chinese traders and restrict them on ownership of lands.[18] Since then, the news of the capturement of the town arrived to the Ming Dynasty of China, an alliance of the fall Malacca Sultanate in which the Chinese were also displeased about it when they heard many Chinese children been kidnapped by the Portuguese in Tuen Mun since their arrival from Malacca.[21] As a retaliation over what the Portuguese have done in Malacca, a numbers of Portuguese were later killed by the Chinese in a battle known as Battle of Tunmen and Xicaowan in China.[21] By the mid-16th century, two sultanates of Aceh and Johor arise to tried control the town of Malacca from the Portuguese which then became the centre of struggle between the three.[14] Already in 1564, Aceh retook Aru (a territory in Sumatra which had previously lost to Johor) and destroy Johor's capital of Johor Lama with all the Johor Royal Family at the time been taken to Aceh to rule Johor as a vassal state. Another attack was done in 1570, 1613 and 1623 when Johor tried to breakaway from Aceh.[22] Aceh's domination ambition later led to a clash with the Portuguese in Malacca. All the three involved in a triangular war but when both the Portuguese and Johor seen Aceh as a threat due to constant attacks against them, the both began to collaborating each other to fight Aceh.[23] In 1582, Portuguese assisted Johor to thwart attack by Aceh but the relations ended when Johor attack Portuguese in 1587. While Aceh continue its attack on Portuguese, Aceh was later destroyed when a large additional armada from Portuguese port in Goa came to defend the town of Malacca and definitely destroy the sultanate.[22]

A painting of Dutch Malakka fort, c. 1665.

After which Aceh was left weaken, the Dutch East India Company (VOC) arrived and Johor formed a treaty with them to flush out the Portuguese in the second capture of Malacca. The Dutch success overtaking the town while Johor managed to re-established its suzerainty over many of its former dependencies in Sumatra such as Siak (1662) and Indragiri (1669). The Dutch expand the size of the fort town and built a numbers of additional infrastructures. But as the Dutch has less interest over Malay Peninsula and Sumatra than Java and Maluku Islands,[22] the Dutch remained neutral in local disputes between Malay Sultanates there until 1756 when the Bugis over the Riau-Lingga Sultanate has start to threat Dutch maritime trade. Until the 18th century, when English rivalry has started to establish its presence over northern Malay Peninsula named Prince of Wales Island and Province Wellesley (present-day Penang Island and Seberang Perai, Penang).[24] The Dutch began to seize the Bugis areas of Riau and expelled the Bugis from both Riau and Selangor, as fearing these areas would fall under the British rule. Malacca town were placed under direct control from Batavia (present-day Jakarta, Indonesia).[10] But with the annexation of Java in 1811 to British,[25] a treaty was signed in 1824 between the two resulting in the Johor-Riau Empire separated into British and Dutch influence along with Malacca which was then officially handed to the British in 1825 and integrated as part of the Straits Settlements.[22] Under British rule, the town came under direct control from a Resident in Penang and the old fort in the town was dismantled.[24]

Japanese occupation and post-independence[edit]


Part of Malacca City. Malacca Island is the strip of land directly across the coast.

The city of Malacca is located on both sides of the Malacca River near its mouth into the Strait of Malacca. The historic central area of the city is located near the old coastline, includes St Paul's Hill with the ruins of the Portuguese fortress, A Famosa and the Dutch Square on the right (eastern) bank of the river, and the old Chinatown on the left (western) bank. The modern city has grown in all directions from this historic core, including to the south (because the present coastline of the Strait of Malacca is somewhat further down to the south than its original location due to land reclamation).[citation needed] The "Chinese Hill" (Bukit Cina), where a large old Chinese cemetery is located, was formerly located to the northeast of the town, but now is surrounded by the city on all sides. Malacca river winding its way through the old town and the city centre.


Malacca's weather is hot and humid throughout the year with rainfall, the intensity of which depends on the time of the year. It is one of the driest cities in Malaysia which receives just below 2,000 mm (79 in) of rainfall annually beside Sitiawan, Perak while mostly in Peninsular of Malaysia the average rainfall is around 2,500 mm (98 in) annually. However Malacca never has a dry season as average rainfall is more than 100 mm (3.9 in) for each month. Malacca features tropical rainforest climate, under the Köppen climate classification. The relatively stable weather allows Malacca to be visited all-year-round. Temperatures generally range between 30 °C – 35 °C during the day and 27 °C – 29 °C at night. It may get cooler after periods of heavy rainfall.

Generally, Malacca annual rainfall is below average of Malaysia annual rainfall. Usually, it rains in the evening after hot and humid afternoon.

Climate data for Malacca (1961–1990)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 31.4
Average low °C (°F) 22.5
Average rainfall mm (inches) 73.3
Average rainy days (≥ 1.0 mm) 7 7 10 13 12 10 12 12 13 14 17 11 138
Mean monthly sunshine hours 193.0 202.5 214.8 207.5 210.5 193.9 201.3 191.2 171.5 179.6 156.9 166.8 2,289.5
Source: NOAA[26]


Most tourist attractions are concentrated in its small city centre which encompasses Jonker Walk which houses Malacca's traditional Chinatown that exhibits Peranakan architecture. A Famosa Fort, St. Paul's Hill are among the tourist attractions located in the Bandar Hilir, old city area. There are also numerous shopping centres located nearby. The Malacca Straits Mosque is located here. There are numerous islands which include Pulau Upeh near Klebang Beach (currently undergoing reclamation works) and Pulau Besar.


Malacca City is accessible via highway, railway, or Federal route/coastal road. Malacca City is approximately 130 km from Kuala Lumpur and 200 km from Singapore. People who wish to go to Malacca by train should board the Singapore-bound train in Kuala Lumpur Sentral and alight at Tampin station, where shuttle buses to and from places such as Jonker Street, Melaka Sentral and AEON Bandaraya Melaka Shopping Centre are available.

It was reported recently that under the 10th Malaysia Plan (RMK10), KTM is planning to reconnect the railway line from Tampin to Malacca City then Batang Melaka.[citation needed] The station will probably be in Batu Berendam (near the airport) or Melaka Sentral. There was a railway line from Tampin to Malacca City before World War II but was dismantled by the Japanese troops to build the infamous Death Railway in Burma.[citation needed] The railway line was never re-built after the British returned.

The Malacca Aerorail was a proposed transportation system. The project will link Ayer Keroh Interchange at Ayer Keroh to Malacca city centre.

The Malacca Aerorail is supposed to be based on Aerobus technology[27]

International relations[edit]

Saudi Arabia has set up its consulate in Malacca City.[28]

Sister cities[edit]

Malacca City currently has ten sister cities:


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  2. ^ Seremban Urban Area
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External links[edit]