Melaka Old Chinatown Area

The historical Melaka Old Chinatown Area is located on the west bank of the Melaka River while the east bank of the Melaka River is where the world famous Stadthuys, St. Paul's Hill and A Famosa are located.

The Melaka Old Chinatown Area is surrounded by the following roads namely Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock ( Heeren Street ), Jalan Kubu, Jalan Kampung Hulu, Jalan Kampung Pantai and Lorong Hang Jebat. Within this area, a number of important and historical sites are located where visitors must visit if they come to Melaka.

Among them are the following :-

Cheng Hoon Teng Temple


Cheng Hoon Teng Temple ( The Temple of the Bright Clouds ) is Malaysia's oldest Chinese temple.

It was founded in 1645 by Lee Wei King, a fugitive from China at the fall of the Ming Dynasty. Covering 4,600 square metres and built with materials brought by junks from China, it is a superb example of Southern Chinese architecture. Its gabled roofs, with curved ridges and eaves, are magnificently decorated with mythological figures, animals, birds and flowers in coloured glass and porcelain.

Exquisite wood carvings and lacquered railings depict the life of Buddha. The entrance is guared by two lions, reminding worshippes to practise 'filial piety' towards parents. The temple is dedicated to Kwan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy, whose statue is enshrined in the main hall. Side halls are dedicated to other deities: Ma Choe Poh, the Queen of Heaven and protector of fishermen and sailors; the red-faced Kwan Ti, god of war, patron of literature and upholder of jutice; and Sui Tai, the golden-faced Goddess of Wealth.

In the rear hall, memorial tablets commemorating past temple leaders are housed.

In 2001, Cheng Hoon Teng Temple re-opened after undergoing a 2 years  restoration. In 2003, Cheng Hoon Teng Temple was awarded an award by UNESCO for the restoration works.

Cheng Hoon Teng Temple is located in Jalan Tokong (Temple Street) in the heart of Melaka Old Chinatown and visitors must visit this historical gem when you are in Melaka.

Kampung Hulu Mosque

Kampung Hulu Mosque was built in 1728 by Dato Shamsuddin and it is the oldest mosque in Malaysia. Its unique architectural style can only be found in Malacca. It replaced the city's first mosque, built by the Sultan, which had been situated in front of the present Stadthuys. When the Portuguese captured Malacca in 1511, the old mosque was destroyed.

It was not until the Dutch period in the early 1700's that mosques were again allowed to be built.

Kampong Hulu Mosque ranks as the most popular mosque with both locals and tourists alike. This mosque is located at Jalan Kampung Hulu and Jalan Masjid.

Sri Poyyatha Vinayagar Moorthi Temple

Built in 1781 on land given by the Dutch, it is one of the oldest Hindu temples in Malaysia.

The central altar is dedicated to Vinayagar, represented by an elephant's head carved from Indian black stone. Vinayagar is the Indian diety believed to be capable of removing all obstacles and takes the form of a human body with four hands and an elephant's head, with a rat at his feet.

Other altars can be seen, including one dedicated to Vinayagar's younger brother Muruga.

The temple is located near Kampong Kling Mosque in Jalan Tukang Emas or Goldsmith Street as it was former known.

Kampung Kling Mosque

This unique old mosque in Jalan Tukang Emas displays a curious blend of Sumatran and Western architectural styles. Rather than a traditional Moorish dome, its three-tiered roof rises like a pyramid with a distinct Hindu influence. Its beatifully carved wooden ceiling is supported by elegant Corinthin-style columns, while the walls of the main prayer hall are covered with Portuguese and British glazed tiles.

The minaret besides it is oddly structured like a pagoda, The word 'Kling' is derived from Kalinga, the name of an empire in southern India.

For visitors who want to visit this mosque, visitors are advised to be conservatively dressed and observe silence during prayer times.

Heeren Street ( Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock )

Heeren Street used to be called the Millionaires' Row of Melaka. Wealthy Peranakan and Chinese merchants used to live on this street with their lavish mansions and longish houses. Some of these houses are more than 100 metres in length with 4 or more airwells while the house front is about 4 metres in width. It was said that taxes were collected at one time based on the width of each house front, so the shop front was narrow but the length of the house is long.

Extended families used to live in these family houses over the centuries. Over the past decade, some of these magnifecent houses have been converted into boutique hotels such as Hotel Puri, Melaka, Baba House or into museums.

Baba Nyonya Heritage Museum

One famous museum is the Baba Nyonya Heritage. Located at Nos. 48 and 50, Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock, this is the first private museum of Peranakan culture. It traces the evolution of the unique 'Baba' community.

When early Chinese settlers arrived in the Straits Settlements of Malacca, Penang and Singapore, they inter-married and adopted many Malay customs while retaining their unique language. Their descendants were known as Straits-born Chinese or Peranakans ( literally meaning "born here"in Malay ) and the fusion of cultures resulted in distinctive styles of architecture, language, furniture, cuisines and clothings.

The heritage museum is housed in two 'Baba' ancestral homes, characterised by coloured decorative tiles. The exhibits, displayed amidst intricately carved fittings finished in gold leaf, offer a wealth of opportunities to experience the 'Baba' lifestyle.

Admission : RM 10.00 per adult. Guided tours start from 10.00 am to 12.30pm and from 2.00pm to 4.30pm.

Jonker Street ( Jalan Hang Jebat )

Jonker Street or Jalan Hang Jebat is the road parallel to Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock ( Heeren Street ). On this street, you can find numerous shops selling antiques and furniture. In recent years, Jonker Street is transformed into a tourist attraction especially from Friday to Sunday nights ( from 6.00pm onwards )where the weekend Jonker Walk is held.

During this time, Jonker Street will be turned into a pedestrian mall and small booths will be allowed to sell local food, handicraft, artwork etc. to tourists and locals alike. Ove the years, Jonker Walk has become popular with tourists who usually visit Melaka during the weekends.

Visitors can also try karoakeing at two clan associations located along Jonker Street. Entry is free of charge and you sing your heart out in English, Mandarin or local dialects such as Hokkien songs, Hakka songs etc. As long as you are interested to show off your singing skills and voice, everyone is welcomed. So, do not be shy and show off your singing talent in front of the public.

Opening Times for Jonkers Walk : Friday to Sundays from 6.00pm to 11.00pm only.

Copyright : 2005