5.2.11: A Famosa Fort Malacca

We visited the A Famosa Portuguese Fort in Malacca, which was situated near to Dataran Pahlawan, formerly known as Padang Pahlawan. The last time I was there was when I was in secondary school.

We were lucky to arrive early and secure a parking. Parking fee payment was via parking coupons and we bought a parking coupon book at a booth near the entrance of the car park, near Equatorial hotel. 

It is among the oldest surviving European architectural remains in Asia. The Porta de Santiago, a small gate house, is the only remaining part of the fortress still standing. In 1511, a Portuguese fleet arrived under the command of Afonso de Albuquerque. His forces attacked and successfully defeated the armies of the Malacca Sultanate. Moving quickly to consolidate his gains, Albuquerque had the fortress built around a natural hill near the sea. Albuquerque believed that Malacca would become an important port linking Portugal to the Spice Route in China. At this time other Portuguese were establishing outposts in such places as Macau, China and Goa, India in order to create a string of friendly ports for ships heading to China and returning home to Portugal.

The fortress once consisted of long ramparts and four major towers. One was a four-story keep, while the others held ammunition storage room, the residence of the captain, and an officers' quarters. Most of the village clustered in town houses inside the fortress walls. As Malacca's population expanded it outgrew the original fort and extensions were added around 1586. The fort changed hands in 1641 when the Dutch successfully drove the Portuguese out of Malacca. The Dutch renovated the gate in 1670, which explains the logo "ANNO 1670" inscribed on the gate's arch. Above the arch is a bas-relief logo of the Dutch East India Company.

The fortress changed hands again in the early 19th century when the Dutch handed it over to the British to prevent it from falling into the hands of Napoleon's expansionist France. The English were wary of maintaining the fortification and ordered its destruction in 1806. The fort was almost totally demolished but for the timely intervention of Sir Stamford Raffles, the founder of Singapore, who happened to visit Malacca in 1810. Because of his passion for history, this small gate was spared from destruction.

The Porta de Santiago
On the way up

Going up the steps. 

The boys preferred to play with the small red gravels under this large tree. They also gathered seed pods that fell from the tree....until a sweeper passed by and told the boys not to do that (mess up the place). We took cue and cleared up.   

It was very windy up here
 The surroundings have changed a lot. In the past, it was just the large 'Padang Pahlawan' field. Now it's a megamall. 

After that, we walked to the Dataran Pahlawan. The boys were excited to see the largest field that they have ever seen and ran across it. After that, we went to the Dataran Pahlawan Melaka Megamall.

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