After our 2-day program in Melaka, we bid goodbye to our faithful eating companions. Some of us, like me, decided to stay longer in Melaka to explore. It was afternoon and I decided to walk. Walking gives me better grasp of a place’s layout and it is only now that I realised most of the attractions in Melaka are walkable. From the Jonker Walk, I crossed the east bridge and dodged the flow of traffic to reach the famous Melaka’s Dutch Square.
The Red Square
The Dutch ruled Melaka for 183 years (1641-1825) and its influence is marked by this beautiful patch of Dutch scenery in the heart of Melaka – the Dutch Square with its earth-red walls, dutch tiles and colonial architecture. It’s one of those places in Melaka that makes me feel I’m in a foreign land. Prominent structures here is the Christ Church, Studthuys and Tang Beng Swee Clock Tower.
The Christ Church
This prominent structure not only represents original Dutch Architecture but also the oldest functioning protestant church in Melaka. Built between 1742 to 1753, the bricks from the church were imported from Netherlands. The walls, like the Studthuys were originally white until they were painted red in 1911, which eventually became the hallmark colour of Melaka. I was able to enter this church on my first visit. Unfortunately photography isn’t allowed inside but it’s very interesting to see the tombstone inscriptions on the floor and the wooden beams carved from a single tree.
The neighbouring Studthuys was completed in 1660 is now the oldest Dutch Structure in the Orient. Designed after the town hall in Frisian Town of Hoorn in Netherlands, this was used as the office of the Dutch and Deputy Governors. Now it houses the Museum of History and Ethnography. At its doorsteps, numerous bicycle rickshaw park by the square, heavily adorned complete with blinking lights to attract tourist guest for a ride.
Tang Beng Swee Clock Tower
Another imposing structure in the Dutch Square is the Tang Beng Swee Clock Tower which may look Dutch but it isn’t. It was donated by a rich philanthropic millionaire family in memory of the person of the same name in 1886. The clock on the tower came all the way from England.
It’s so nice to be able to spend time in the Melaka Dutch Square and wait till the evening falls. This is what I liked about taking my time on a place to see it in a different light. Makes me appreciate it more.
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.