Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A Famosa and St. Paul Church @ Malacca

A Famosa aka The Porta de Santiago
Continue with my short vacation in Malacca. A must visit site in Malacca is A’ Famosa or in Portugese “The Famous” which is a fortress located in the city centre of Malacca. It is among the oldest surviving European architectural remains in Asia. The Porta de Santiago is a small gatehouse which is the only remaining part of the fortress which is still standing.
The behind view of A'Famosa.
Climbing up the stairs to St. Paul Church which located on the top of the hills.

On the top of the hill, lays the ruins of St. Paul Church. The ruins of St. Paul's church stand at the summit of St. Paul's hill near the remains of A Famosa fortress. The site was originally occupied by the "Chapel of the Annunciation", which was built in 1521 by Duarte Coelho in gratitude to the Virgin Mary for saving his life in the South China sea. In 1548 the Archbishop of Goa in India handed over the church to the Jesuits, who began renovating it in 1566. The present building was completed in 1590, with the tower on the right side of the sacristy added in 1593.

St. Paul Church ruins.
The walls of St. Paul Church

The church is renowned as the place where the body of Francis Xavier, the pioneering Catholic missionary of Southeast Asia, was laid to rest for a period of eight months after his death at sea (from arch 22nd, 1553 to December 11th, 1553). The open grave in the church, now covered by a wire mesh, marks the place of Francis' temporary burial.
Xavier had been an active missionary in the Maluku region of Indonesia from 1546-47. His work there paved the way for permanent missions in the years to come. Afterward, Xavier continued his missionary activities in Japan. He was such a success that the Catholic Church considers him to have converted the most number of people to Christianity since Saint Paul. On the ruins, lays few stone plates on the church walls in memorial of some of the merchant and upper class society in Portugese colonial era.

The Portugese Guitarist duo.
Me and the guitarists.

There was a duo playing guitar which attracted me and they do sing very well. Both are Malaccan Portuguese and they earning money for living by singing. They quotes, ”Wehave no problem in singing any song but we have problem with money. Money is everything now.” Since both of them are honest and i enjoyed the song, i decided to give some money to them. Quite amaze with the talent, thy can sing Taiwan Hokkien song, Mandarin, Korean, Tagalog, English and Japanese song very well. Even the tourist was amaze. Even some of the tourist singing along as they can sing their mother tongue language. My mum, my wife and I spent nearly an hour at the ruins while enjoying their songs and enjoying the panaromic view of Malacca from St. Paul Hill.

St. Francis Xavier statue which the hand been vandalise and the light house in the background.

But it quite disappointed when you seen some vandalism occurred on some of the wall and the St. Francis Xavier statue.