Malacca has many religious buildings, including some of the oldest ones in Malaysia. Due to being Islamicized, then colonised by Christians, and having a large Chinese community, there is a good mixture of churches, temples and mosques.
Here are five that we found interesting:
1) Mesjid Kampung Hulu
The oldest functioning mosque in Malaysia, Mesjid Kampung Hulu was commissioned by the Dutch (who were keen to appease those who wished to practise Islam) in 1728. It has predominantly Javanese architecture, and we were surprised by how small it actually looks.
2) Kampung Kling Mosque
This mosque features a high tower, which was apparently inspired by the design of Hindu temples.
3) Christ Church
Part of the Stadhuys complex in the centre of the old town (a good focal point, and bus 17 from Melaka Sentral will drop you off here), this church features grave stones from 1800. While we were there a Chinese-language service was taking place, so we couldn’t walk around inside.
4) St Paul’s Church
This much older church sits on a hilltop over the town. Now in ruins, with no roof, it features graves from the 1600s, and spectacular views out to sea. The former tomb of St Francis Xavier is here (his body was moved to Goa, India).
Some unusual tourism – photo with a gravestone, anyone?
5) Cheng Hoon Teng Temple
This is Malaysia’s oldest traditional Chinese temple (dating from 1646). Its striking black and gold carved wood was totally different to the décor of other temples I have seen, which tend to be more colourful.