A Famosa Fortress
The gate “Porta de Santiago” is all what’s left of the mighty fortress built by the Portuguese invaders in 1511. As you all know, the Portuguese were looking for new trading routes to India. During their quest they set foot and established outposts on Macao, Goa and Melaka.
To fight off the army of the Sultan of Melaka, the Portuguese built this fortress around a natural hill near the sea.
However one century later in 1641, the Portuguese outpost was conquered by the Dutch East Indian Company (abbreviated in Dutch to VOC: Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie).
The Dutch started fortifying the A Famosa fortress and completed their work in1670. That’s the date you will see written on the Porta de Santiago, next to the logo of the East Indian Company.
Unfortunately, in the early 19th century the Dutch handed A Famosa over to the British to keep it out of the hands of French colonizer Napoleon. The British had no intention of maintaining the fortress and ordered its destruction.
Only thanks to the founder of Singapore: Sir Stamford Raffles who happened to visit Melaka, the English stopped demolishing the entire fortress and left the Porta de Santiago untouched.
The fortress is in walking distance of the historical center of Melaka and deserves a visit if you want to know more about the history of Melaka and modern Malaysia.
A Famosa golf resort and A Famosa water world
Although Melaka is a renowned UNESCO world heritage site, the Malaysian Tourism Board does little to uphold the picturesque charm of the city.
In their own words, they ‘lure’ tourists with high priced attractions like a golf resort and a water world theme park. The only historical value in these attractions is the misleading use of the words “A Famosa”.
Having said so, the golf course is set upon scenic waterways and has even a landing strip for light aircraft and helicopters: for the rich and famous.
A Famosa Water World Theme Park is the only water theme park of its kind in the southern region of Malaysia.
Although it comprises slides and pools of every kind, you wonder why the Malaysian Tourist Board just has to add a theme park to a city that can lure tourists just because of it’s old charm and history…
A Famosa Melaka summarized
A Famosa shows you 2 sides of how Malaysia looks at tourism in their country:
- A Famosa is the oldest remaining building in Melaka and entire Asia,
- A Famosa is also used to brand the latest Malaysian tourist attractions in Melaka: a great golf course for the rich and famous and the only Water World theme park in the south of Malaysia.
Although Melaka is an UNESCO world heritage site, A Famosa illustrates how history is only a signboard to lure tourists to Malaysia’s most modern tourist attractions.