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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

St Paul's Hill, Melaka

In the early 16th century (1511 - 1641), the straits of Malacca was widely colonised by the Portugese empire during the struggles between super powers. As a mean to maintain its colonial foothold in Melaka, a fort was designed and erected encompassing St Paul's Hill. The fort served not only as a housing and meeting place for the Portugese officials, but also an important vantage point, strategically overlooking the rivers. Following a seven-month attack by the Dutch, the fort was mostly destroyed and what remained is the entrance facade and ruins of the church.

Today, hundreds and thousands of travellers from all over the world visit the ruins of the what-used-to-be a majestic and powerful Portugese fort. Just be warned though, the ascend of St Paul's Hill via a series of steeply-inclined stairway is not for the faint-hearted.

"I see trees of green.. red roses too.. I see 'em bloom," the beautiful strums of a guitar and enchanting melody of Louis Armstrong's What a Wonderful World entered my ears softly as I stepped beneath the fort walls. An ethnic of probably Indonesian or Philippines, what a talented busker he is. Besides the busking activities going on, there are a few vendors selling souvenirs and as always, at jacked-up prices. If you would like to buy souvenirs of Malacca back home, I suggest taking a look at the marketplace by the foot of St Paul's Hill.

Spot the basker (strumming the guitar)

The whole attraction would take probably less than half an hour to glimpse through, but take your time and immerse yourself with the rich history of Melaka which can be seen on the detailed engravings, and you could probably imagine what the situation was like about 500 years ago. Besides engraved tablets, there are several artifact displays and a few remaining tombstones of the Dutch.

Your trip to St Paul's Hill is not completed, not until you take a photo with the man himself. I have little ideas why is he missing a hand, but he looked awesome nevertheless.

Ranked #06 at Tripadvisor's attraction in Melaka, St Paul's Hill is well worth the tedious ascend. Besides the rich culture and history attached to it, one can expect a full view of the Straits of Malacca on a clear day. Best timings to visit? I would recommend the early mornings or late afternoons, when the sun is dimmed down and the crowd is not overwhelming.

Bukit St Paul

Sentral Meleka