The historic city of Malacca is given a boost in authenticity through the restoration of some of the ancient walls that was unearthed two years ago. Not everyone thinks that the restoration is accurate, however. By some strange coincidence, I was also in Malacca this week and I took some pictures of the said walls and bastion. More on that next week.
For a walk down historic Malacca
The Star, 06 October 2008
Remember the ancient bastions of fortress Malacca that was discovered late 2006 (see here and here)? There were also four 13th century skeletons discovered at the site, which was being analysed in the Centre for Archaeological Research Malaysia (where I’m based). They were having the press conference at the centre on Friday morning to announce the piece of news. Over the weekend, we also had the National Archaeology Seminar where we heard a paper presented about the skeletal finds from the site.
Now there’s another great reason – besides the food – to visit the historic town of Malacca! A new heritage trail has been created to highlight some of the town’s most prominent architectural features during the Dutch colonial era of the 17th and 18th century. One particular feature of note is the recently-excavated Middlesburgh bastion, discovered only last year during the construction of a tourist trap which has since been relocated.
Creative Commons image by lloydi
2km Dutch heritage trail opens in Malacca
The Star, 18 December 2007
02 June 2007 (New Straits Times) – The New Straits Times has a weekend focus on the restoration works of the Malacca Fort, first built by the Portuguese after their conquest of Malacca, and then later occupied by the Dutch. Much of the fort was destroyed by the British colonialists and thought lost forever until parts of the fort’s bastion was discovered last year.
Rise of the Great Fort
Following the discovery, the Culture, Arts and Heritage Ministry proposed to reconstruct the Malacca Fort, for which the Cabinet approved a fund of RM12.8 million three months ago.
Rui and Nordin are part of a team of local and foreign experts comprising historians, archaeologists, architects, geologists and conservationists put together by the Department of National Heritage to oversee the fortâ€™s reconstruction.
Heading the team is Heritage Commissioner Datuk Professor Zuraina Majid.
“We are not aiming to rebuild the whole fort, only about 50 per cent of the original.
“What is of primary concern is the authenticity of our reconstruction,” says Zuraina.
With only the foundations to work with, her team will have to rely heavily on historic documents by authors like Tome Pires and Emanuel Godinho de Eredia, drawings, paintings, as well as consultation with experts familiar with the architecture of that era.
Read more about the Malacca Fort, the Fortaleza Dâ€™Malacca also known as A’Famosa.
1 February 2007 (The Star) – The 16th century Portuguese fort of Malacca, A’Famosa, is slated for rebuilding, following the discovery of the Middlesburgh bastion late last year.
Aâ€™Famosa to be rebuilt
Portions of the buried ruins of Fortaleza Dâ€™Malacca or the mighty Aâ€™Famosa fortress built in 1512 will be brought to â€œlifeâ€ for the world to see. About 350m of the buried walls of the fortress will be reconstructed stone by stone to its original dimensions of 8m by 5m, said Commissioner of Heritage Prof Datuk Dr Siti Zuraina Abdul Majid. She said the completed structure would encompass the cityâ€™s 11.3ha heritage site in Bandar Hilir.
Presently, the department is using documents and paintings of the fort dating back to 1512 to determine its dimensions and design, but may require further documents from overseas sources.
â€œWe might study the Galle Fort, which is fully intact in Sri Lanka, as it is a good example of how the fort would look like because they both share a similar history,â€ she added.
4 December 2006 (The Star) – I think this bit of news will bring much joy to the locals, who have been campaigning against the tower for some time.
Proposed Malacca project to be re-sited to preserve old wall
Researchers are excited by the discovery of part of an ancient wall at the construction site of the proposed tower in Malacca.
They believe it could be the remnants of the watchtower called the Middelsburgh Bastion built by the Portuguese in the 16th century to monitor the movements of boats at the entrepot.
Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim will recommend to the Cabinet that the site be preserved and the tower moved to another location.
– The Malay Sultanates 1400-1700 (The Encyclopedia of Malaysia)