via New Straits Times, 01 February 2024: St Paul’s Church, nestled atop Melaka’s historic St Paul’s Hill, is the oldest church structure in Malaysia, embodying over 500 years of diverse cultural heritage. Initially founded by the Portuguese and later transformed by the Dutch and British, this site offers a deep dive into Melaka’s colonial past, inviting visitors to explore its architectural remnants and panoramic city views, alongside nearby historical landmarks like A Famosa and the Stadthuys.
PERCHED on the historic St Paul’s Hill, St Paul’s Church, the oldest church edifice in Malaysia and a venerable landmark in Southeast Asia’s historical narrative, stands within the Melaka Museum Complex. Its inception in 1521 marks the beginning of a saga that encapsulates Melaka’s diverse cultural legacy.
Founded as Nossa Senhora da Annunciada by Portuguese nobleman Duarte Coelho, the chapel was a gesture of gratitude for surviving a perilous sea storm. It later caught the attention of the Society of Jesus, receiving expansion and a belfry tower under the care of St Francis Xavier. Renamed Igreja de Madre de Deus, it blossomed into a prominent religious site.
The Dutch conquest brought a new era, reconsecrating it as St Paul’s Church or Bovernkerk. Its use continued until the completion of Christ Church Melaka in 1753. The British era saw it repurposed as a powder magazine, leading to its present state as a historical relic.