MALAYSIA | The Ruins of St. Paul Church in Melaka

Monday, May 09, 2016

St. Paul’s Church Melaka

Dark gloomy clouds gather at the top of St. Paul’s Hill as we continued our way up through flights of stairs covered in maroon paint. We passed a complex of museums, went out to the open road, then a trellised path, and at last, a final series of stairway leading to the ruins of Melaka’s St. Paul Church atop the hill.

St. Paul’s Church Melaka
GOING UP TO MELAKA’S ST. PAUL CHURCH FROM THE DUTCH SQUARE

In theory, the climb is easy enough, but in reality, the intense suffocating heat of Melaka, even on overcast days, makes the climb double the effort. We decided to pass off this particular place during our first outing in the city almost exactly a year ago, but this time, with nowhere else to go, we prepped ourselves in braving the heat to finally see this famous ruin.

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St. Paul’s Church Melaka
THE RUINED CHURCH FACADE AND ITS BELFRY

Melaka’s St. Paul Church ruin is the oldest non-functioning church structure, not only in Malaysia, but in all of South East Asia. It is quite small, being originally built in 1521 by a certain Portuguese nobleman, Duarte Coelho, as a chapel rather than a full-blown church.

St. Paul’s Church Melaka
THE SECOND BISHOP OF FUNAY IN JAPAN IS BURIED HERE

It was originally dedicated to the Virgin Mary with the title Nossa Senhora da Annunciada (Our Lady of the Hill) before it was renamed as the Igreja de Madre de Deus (Church of the Mother of God) in 1590 along with the addition of a second floor a few years before and a bell tower.

St. Paul’s Church Melaka
STATUE OF ST. FRANCIS XAVIER IN FRONT OF THE CHURCH

At the moment, the church now lay in ruins, without roof, doors, nor windows. Only the belfry, which stands separately a meter or so from its mother structure, is intact and painted in white. A direct result of the construction of the now more famous Christ Church at the Melaka Dutch Square, found at bottom of the hill, and further disuse during the British invasion of Melaka in 1824.

St. Paul’s Church Melaka
MASSIVE GRAVESTONES INSIDE THE ST PAUL CHURCH
St. Paul Church Melaka
THE MAIN HALL WHAT ONCE WAS MELAKA’S ST. PAUL CHURCH

What struck me during our exploration of its interiors were the numerous gravestones leaning on the thick walls of St. Paul’s. These aren’t your usual tombstones, but rather larger than life slabs of rock, more than a few standing higher than me, carved and engraved with skulls, crossbones, coat of arms, and a language foreign to my eye. Each one was as impressive as the next and I later learned that these were from famous people back in the day.

St. Paul’s Church Melaka
IMPRESSIVE ORNATE GRAVESTONES AT MELAKA’S ST. PAUL CHURCH

More than the ruins, which is still part of the UNESCO World Heritage stamp on the city of Melaka, the massive gravestones were the ones that really made its mark on me during our visit to St. Paul’s Church. Very much worth the t-shirt drenching climb up the hill.


St. Paul’s Church Melaka
Address: Jalan Kota, Melaka, Malaysia
Contact Number: +60 17-202 6037
Entrance Fee: Free
Open Hours: Open 24 Hours, Daily
GPS Coordinates Map: 2.192616, 102.249585


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4 comments

  1. Hi, thanks for sharing this post.. the only place we managed to go in Malaysia is Lego Land :)

    Anyway, i would like to invite you for an interview on my blog www.jacarandatravels.com, we run a local travel tour company. please let me know po if you are interested.. thanks

    Jac

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    Replies
    1. Hi Jac, I guess you came from Singapore when you visited Malaysia, yes?

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  2. Although I have never been to Malaysia, it has been on my mind that it is a Muslim country and that churches like this won't be visible. But looking at the pictures, they must have more of majestic churches like this. Very beautiful indeed!

    Anyway, I am interviewing top pinoy travel bloggers and I found you. Are you open for an interview? Kindly let me know if you're interested, email is jacarandatravels@gmail.com. Thank you :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Julie, a few parts of Malaysia have old Christian churches, usually those that have been colonized in the past. Regarding the interview, sure let's do it. :)

      Delete