Words by Harny Khair
At Bukit Peringgit, Melaka, amidst a cluster of heritage bungalows stands a special gallery that showcases how the state is historically linked to Macau in China.
Both cities were once colonised by the Portuguese and their common connection could be seen in the hundreds of old monuments and landmarks, heritage, cuisines and traditions that have been passed down from generation to generation and preserved by their descendants.
Like Melaka with its historical international port that traded with the West and the Far East, Macau was also the confluence of the East and the West when it was under the Portuguese colonial administration from 1557 until it was returned to China in 1999.
Under the Portuguese, Macau became a lucrative port due to its strategic location in the development of the international spice trade for the Chinese territory.
Macau’s location together with better navigational equipment, made long haul sailing for the Portuguese possible in their search for places – like the Malay Archipelago – where spices grew.
Visitors at the gallery can get a glimpse into this rich heritage that is showcased over four themes – the Macau World Heritage exhibition, Events and Festivals (on the ground floor), Macau Origins and Culture and Maritime History of Portuguese and Chinese (on the upper floor).
The gallery, which is housed in a pre-war building, also features a multi-function room suitable for conference, talk, arts and cultural activity; and a library complete with multimedia facilities for visitors.
On the ground floor, there is also a cozy esplanade for those who want to relax and enjoy the lush green view or chit chat.
The gallery, which is newly renovated, is a joint effort by the governments of Melaka and Macau to raise awareness regarding the two Unesco World Heritage Sites’ shared culture, heritage and arts.
The operation of the gallery is financed by the Macau Government Tourism Office while the Melaka government pays for the upkeep of the building exterior and grounds.
The gallery is open daily except Mondays from 10am to 5pm. Admission is free. The gallery also offers guided tours and activities upon request.
6 BukitPeringgit, 75400 Melaka
Tel: 06-2869939 Fax: 06-2829939