Monday, June 13, 2011

St. Paul's Church Ruins in Malacca

After a 2 hour ride through the wide and smooth highways of Selangor, we arrive at the St Paul’s Church in Malacca, a breezy sanctuary reached after a steep flight of stairs. Originally built by a Portuguese captain in 1521, the church offers views over Malacca from the summit of Bukit St. Paul. Inside the decaying stone interior are intricately engraved tombstones of the Dutch nobility that are buried here. The church was regularly visited by St Francis Xavier, and following his death in China the saint’s body was temporarily interred here for nine months before being transferred to Goa, where it remains today. Visitors can look into his ancient tomb, which is surrounded by a wire fence, in the center of the church and a marble statue of the saint gazes wistfully over the city. When the Dutch completed their own Christ Church in 1590 at the base of the hill, St Paul fell into disuse. Under the British a lighthouse was built and the church eventually ended up as a storehouse for gunpowder. The church has been in ruins for more than 150 years.