Wednesday, January 29, 2014

An Anglo Indian Heritage-Standing Ruins of Melaka

The city of Melaka one of the historic cities in the straits of Melaka,a UNESCO World Heritage Sight boasts of many ruins and one of them is the Bastion Middleburg wall which was rebuilt near the Malacca Fort in the heart of the city.The Malaka fort built in the 15 th century was a prominent landmark in the Malay Sultanate.This was where the Administrative and Royal residences were located.The complex,guarded by royal warriors also housed the Palace,Mosque and sentry towers.


The bulk of this complex building material were sourced from Pulau Upeh,Puleau Melaka,Tanjung Kling,Sebatu and Bukit Piatu.Malacca was subject to change with each successive colonial power that came to control it.In 1511 the Portuguese captured Malacca and heedlessly destroyed the Malay fortification.In 1512 the Portuguese replaced the old Malacca center with another fort named  Forteleza de Malaca which largely resembled the other Portuguese forts built in other parts of Asia and  Africa.


The first type of colonial architecture grew from early Dutch settlements when settlements were with in walled defences to protect them from attack by other European trade rivals and native revolt.The Portuguese fort completed in 1588 covered an area of 1.4 kilometres.On this site were located the Administrative building,governors residence,hospital,quarters for employees,church, and barracks for the army.


The fort was equipped with 8 defence bulwarks.When the Dutch captured Malaca in 1641 they renamed the 8 bulwarks Victoria(St.Domingo),Emelia(Madre de Deus),Henetta Louyse(Onze Mille Virgines),Wilhelmus(Santiago),Mauritius(Hospital dos pobres),Frederick Hendrik(Courassa),Ernst Casimir(Mora),and Amsterdam(Hospital Del Rey).In 1660 and 1678 the Dutch reinforced this complex of defencive walls  by building another bulwalk called Middleburg making a total of nine bulwarks.


The defences of the city became strengthened after the wall construction as it regulated the flow in the Malacca River.This system provided canon supports for the defence.Malacca declined when the British ruled from 1795 to 1818.The Fort of Malacca that strongly attracted trading groups and commerce was destroyed in 1807 influencing residents and traders to move towards Penang.The move to develop a new trading post in Penang proved a failure as it could hardly compete with well established  


Malacca and its long standing trade links and flourishing reputation.While the British design was less successful the Fort of Malacca itself was soon destroyed.Only the gateway Porta de Santiago was left intact.Archaeological excavations conducted by the department of National Heritage in 2006 discovered the site of the Malacca Fort.Following this the structure of the Fort was revealed making it public in 2008.The Middleburg was then reconstructed on the original location of the Fort.The foundation was discovered during the excavation for Taming Seri Revolving Tower which was planned initially here.


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