Tuesday, 23 December 2014

St. Paul's Church, Melaka, Malaysia

 Nossa Senhora Da Annunciada!

Adding to the long list of historical places in Melaka, comes another ruin called "St. Paul's Church". It is located at the top of St. Paul's Hill or alternative called Malacca Hill. 

St. Paul's Church, Malacca 
St. Paul's Church is situated quite close to another famous ruin, A Famosa.  Originally St. Paul's Church used to be a chapel and was called the Chapel of the Mother of God or Our Lady of the Hill. The original structure was constructed 5 centuries back around 1521. The Portuguese captain, Duarte Coelho, constructed this chapel in gratitude to the Virgin Mary for saving his life during a storm at Sea. In 1548, the archbishop of Goa, India, passed the chapel to the Society of Jesus. And Francis Xavier received the title deed on behalf of the Society of Jesus.

Portuguese carried out further construction by adding second floor to the chapel in 1556 and then  adding an additional tower to it in 1590. During the Dutch rule all Portuguese buildings were destroyed beside the A Famosa. Chapel was also damaged very badly. However Dutch carried on reconstruction and convert the chapel to the St. Paul's Church which is the name used till date. Dutch used this place for worship for around 100 years. 

Pictures of St. Paul's Church
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Later on Dutch constructed a different church, Christ Church, downhill and abandoned the St. Paul's Church. In 1824, British took over Malacca and converted St. Paul's Church to a storage house. Till date you can find the Dutch and Portugues tombstones inside. Though these epitaph have long been obscured by lichen, they are noteworthy because their presence provides an interesting catalog of the times, such as the tombstones of five members of a family that died within 20 days of each other during the diphtheria epidemic  of 1756. These things definitely adds to the colorful history of this historical city of Melaka.  Once you reach the top of the hill you can have very good look over the city of Melaka and Straits of Malacca. 

By the way, there is no mystery behind "one hand statue" of St. Paul at the hill, a day after the status was unveiled a tree fell on it and cut off his right hand. Although some people think "one hand statue" represent actual incident where his hand was kept as relic!

How to go to St. Paul Church

St. Paul is situated very close to Christ Church and A Famosa. You should be able to walk to it from Christ Church. If you are far away. The only reliable option for you could be taxi as we found the bus frequency was not good in Melaka.

Happy travelling...

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