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Melaka and George Town, Historic Cities of the Straits of Malacca

Melaka and George Town, Historic Cities of the Straits of Malacca

Melaka and George Town, historic cities of the Straits of Malacca have developed over 500 years of trading and cultural exchanges between East and West in the Straits of Malacca. The influences of Asia and Europe have endowed the towns with a specific multicultural heritage that is both tangible and intangible. With its government buildings, churches, squares and fortifications, Melaka demonstrates the early stages of this history originating in the 15th-century Malay sultanate and the Portuguese and Dutch periods beginning in the early 16th century. Featuring residential and commercial buildings, George Town represents the British era from the end of the 18th century. The two towns constitute a unique architectural and cultural townscape without parallel anywhere in East and Southeast Asia.

Melaka et George Town, villes historiques du détroit de Malacca

Les villes historiques Melaka et George Town, sont le produit de 500 ans de contacts commerciaux et culturels entre l’Orient et l’Occident dans le détroit de Malacca. De multiples influences asiatiques et européennes ont apporté aux villes une identité multiculturelle unique qui se manifeste par un patrimoine matériel et immatériel. Avec ses édifices gouvernementaux, ses églises, ses places et sa forteresse, Melaka présente les premières phases de son histoire commençant sous le sultanat malais au XVème siècle et les périodes portugaise et néerlandaise qui ont débuté au commencement du XVIème siècle. Avec ses édifices résidentiels et commerciaux, George Town illustre la période britannique à partir de la fin du XVIIIème siècle. Les deux villes présentent une culture architecturale unique et un paysage urbain sans pareil en Asie orientale et en Asie du Sud-Est.

موقع ميلاكا وجورج تاون (ماليزيا)

موقع ميلاكا وجورج تاون (ماليزيا) الذي تطوّر في مضائق مالاكا بالأخص، وعلى مدى أكثر من 500 عام، في ضوء الحركة التجارية والتبادل الثقافي بين الشرق والغرب. وقد أضفت تأثيرات آسيا وأوروبا على المدينتين تراثاً متعدد الثقافات، سواء كان مادياً أو غير مادي. إذ تكشف ميلاكا بمبانيها الحكومية، وكنائسها، وميادينها، وتحصيناتها، عن مرحلة تاريخية بدأت في القرن الخامس عشر في سلطنة مالاي، وعن الحقبتين البرتغالية والهولندية في مطلع القرن السادس عشر. أما مدينة جورج تاون، فتشمل أبنية سكنية وتجارية، وتجسّد الحقبة البريطانية بدءاً من نهاية القرن الثامن عشر. تشكل المدينتان ثقافة هندسية فريدة ومشهداً لا يضاهيه مشهد آخر من هذا النوع في أي منطقة من شرق أو جنوب شرق آسيا، حسب لجنة التراث العالمي.

source: UNESCO/ERI

Древние города на берегах Малаккского пролива – Мелака и Джорджтаун

Мелака и Джорджтаун получили развитие благодаря торговым и культурным обменам между Востоком и Западом, существовавшим в пределах Малаккского пролива на протяжении 500 лет. Значительное влияние Азии и Европы нашло здесь свое отражение в многокультурном материальном и нематериальном наследии. Правительственные здания, церкви, скверы и фортификационные сооружения Мелаки являются свидетельствами раннего этапа истории этих городов, начавшейся в XV веке в эпоху правления малайского султаната и продолжившейся в начале XVI века во времена ранних португальского и нидерландского периодов. Жилые и торговые здания Джорджтауна относятся к Британскому периоду, начавшемуся в конце XVIII века. Мелака и Джорджтаун являются уникальным примером архитектурных традиций и городского ландшафта, не встречающихся больше ни в одной из стран Восточной и Юго-Восточной Азии.

source: UNESCO/ERI

Melaka y George Town, ciudades históricas del Estrecho de Malacca

Melaka y George Town, ciudades históricas del Estrecho de Malacca son el producto de más de 500 años de intercambios comerciales y culturales entre Oriente y Occidente, en el Estrecho de Malacca. Las influencias de Asia y Europa han dotado a estas ciudades de un patrimonio multicultural particular, tanto tangible como intangible. Sus edificios gubernamentales, iglesias, plazas y fortificaciones son testimonio de las primeras fases de la historia de Melaka, que comenzó bajo el sultanato malayo, en el siglo XV, así como de los periodos portugués y neerlandés, a principios del siglo XVI. Los edificios residenciales y comerciales de George Town atestiguan por su parte la herencia del periodo británico, a partir de finales del siglo XVIII. Ambas ciudades poseen una arquitectura única y un paisaje urbano sin parangón, tanto en el este como en el sureste de Asia.

source: UNESCO/ERI

マラッカとジョージタウン、マラッカ海峡の古都群

source: NFUAJ

Melaka en George Town - historische steden van de Straat van Malakka

Melaka en George Town hebben zich ontwikkeld gedurende 500 jaar handel en culturele uitwisseling tussen Oost en West in de Straat van Malakka. Door de Aziatische en Europese invloeden is er in de steden een specifiek multicultureel erfgoed te vinden, zowel materieel als immaterieel. Met zijn overheidsgebouwen, kerken, pleinen en vestingwerken toont Melaka de vroege stadia van de geschiedenis uit het 15e-eeuwse Maleise sultanaat en de Portugese en Nederlandse periode die vroeg 16e eeuw begon. George Town heeft karakteristieke regerings- en handelsgebouwen en vertegenwoordigt het Britse tijdperk vanaf eind 1700. De twee steden vormen een architectonisch en cultureel stadsbeeld uniek voor Oost en Zuidoost Azië.

Source: unesco.nl

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Outstanding Universal Value

Melaka and George Town, Malaysia, are remarkable examples of historic colonial towns on the Straits of Malacca that demonstrate a succession of historical and cultural influences arising from their former function as trading ports linking East and West. These are the most complete surviving historic city centres on the Straits of Malacca with a multi-cultural living heritage originating from the trade routes from Great Britain and Europe through the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent and the Malay Archipelago to China. Both towns bear testimony to a living multi-cultural heritage and tradition of Asia, where the many religions and cultures met and coexisted. They reflect the coming together of cultural elements from the Malay Archipelago, India and China with those of Europe, to create a unique architecture, culture and townscape.

Criterion (ii): Melaka and George Town represent exceptional examples of multi-cultural trading towns in East and Southeast Asia, forged from the mercantile and exchanges of Malay, Chinese, and Indian cultures and three successive European colonial powers for almost 500 years, each with its imprints on the architecture and urban form, technology and monumental art. Both towns show different stages of development and the successive changes over a long span of time and are thus complementary.

Criterion (iii): Melaka and George Town are living testimony to the multi-cultural heritage and tradition of Asia, and European colonial influences. This multi-cultural tangible and intangible heritage is expressed in the great variety of religious buildings of different faiths, ethnic quarters, the many languages, worship and religious festivals, dances, costumes, art and music, food, and daily life.

Criterion (iv): Melaka and George Town reflect a mixture of influences which have created a unique architec¬ture, culture and townscape without parallel anywhere in East and South Asia. In particular, they demonstrate an exceptional range of shophouses and townhouses. These buildings show many different types and stages of development of the building type, some originating in the Dutch or Portuguese periods.

The integrity of the nominated areas in both towns is related to the presence of all the elements necessary to express their Outstanding Universal Value. The properties have retained their authenticity; listed monuments and sites have been restored with appropriate treatments regarding design, materials, methodologies, techniques and workmanship, in accordance with conservation guidelines and principles.

The protective measures for the properties are adequate. Both towns exhibit a generally acceptable state of conservation, although efforts are required to ensure the conservation of shophouses. The management plans and structures are adequate, and can be enhanced through the continuing conservation programs of the State Party.

Historical Description

Through history, the Straits of Malacca have been a highway for maritime traders and contacts between East and West. Powerful kingdoms and cities have arisen and a typical trait has been immigration and strong influences from far and near, contributing to a multicultural identity. In the late 14th century or early 15th century the city and the kingdom of Melaka was founded. The small fishing village rapidly grew to a large port and emporium, overshadowing the older ports in the area. With the support from the Chinese emperor the king managed to stay independent of Siam. Many ethnic groups were present and it is reported that some 80 different languages were spoken. The custom that people from different ethnic communities lived in their own sections of the city started in this period. Islam was introduced; the king assumed the title of Sultan and Melaka became a centre of learning for Islam.

In 1511 the Portuguese conquered the city of Melaka. A stone fortress surrounding the present St. Paul's Hill was built and within this, palaces for the governor and the bishop, five churches, two hospitals, a college and other public buildings were built. The destruction of mosques and tombs shows a wish to weaken Islam. However, the tradition of separate ethnic quarters and multiculturalism continued. Melaka was frequently attacked by its Malay neighbours; other Europeans were sailing through the Straits of Malacca and had an interest in the area, and in 1641 the Dutch captured the city. They had conquered Java in 1619 and made Batavia (Jakarta) their capital in the East. Melaka was not to compete but became their main base in the peninsula and again rose to a Southeast Asian entrepot par excellence at the end of the 18th century. The Dutch merely took over the existing infrastructure. Later they built a new fortress on St. John's Hill and in 1650 the former Governor's residence was converted into the Stadthuis. The catholic St. Peter's Church was built in 1710 and the protestant Christ Church in 1753, the oldest protestant church in Malaysia and still in use.

In 1795-1818, during the Napoleonic wars in Europe, Melaka came into British hands. By then Penang/George Town had been in existence for some time and as its rival, it was initially ordered to level Melaka. The fort was demolished, only the gate is left, but then the destruction was stopped. A few years later, in 1824, Melaka was finally brought under British administration. George Town was founded in 1786 by the British. Unlike the Portuguese and the Dutch they exercised a policy of free trade. People from all over the world were encouraged to settle in the new town and to produce export crops. To administer the island, a Presidency was set up under the jurisdiction of the East India Company in Bengal and in 1826 it became part of the Straits Settlements together with Singapore and Melaka.

The development of both cities over the centuries was based on the merging of diverse ethnic and cultural traditions, including Malay, European, Muslim, Indian and Chinese influences. All this resulted in a human and cultural tapestry that is expressed in a rich intangible heritage that includes languages, religious practices, gastronomy, ceremonies and festivals.

In Melaka, a conservation area was first identified in 1979 and upgraded in 1985. In 1988 an international seminar was organized and the area of St Paul's Hill designated as a heritage zone. The same year, the State of Melaka established the Preservation and Conservation of Cultural Heritage Act, and in 1993 this was placed under the newly established Melaka Museums Corporation. From this the Conservation Trust Fund was formed, and from 2001 this has been used to finance selected building conservation projects in Melaka.

In George Town, a policy on conservation areas was introduced in the early 1970s. This was the first time a conservation plan became part of the town plan. The island's rapid urban change in the mid-1980s fostered a public conservation movement and an International Conference on Urban Conservation and Planning helped to raise awareness. In the early 1990s some demolitions and conservation projects attracted attention. The first major building restoration work undertaken by the State Government was the Syed Al-Attas Mansion in 1993.

Source: Advisory Body Evaluation