St. Paul's Church Ruins, Melaka

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  • Small Dutch cemetery
    Small Dutch cemetery
    by IreneMcKay
  • Tomb stones
    Tomb stones
    by IreneMcKay
  • Climbing up to St Paul's Church.
    Climbing up to St Paul's Church.
    by IreneMcKay
  • IreneMcKay's Profile Photo

    The ruins of St Paul's Church.

    by IreneMcKay Updated Nov 26, 2013

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    Church and St Francis Xavier statue.
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    After visiting the maritime museum we retraced our steps and climbed up St Paul's Hill to the ruins of St. Paul's Church. There are good views over Melaka from here.

    St. Paul's Church started off as a small chapel called the Chapel of the Mother of God.

    The Chapel of the Mother of God was originally built by a Portuguese administrator called Duarte Coelho. He built it to give thanks to God after his miraculous escape from a tempest in the South China Sea.

    In 1548, the chapel was passed on to the Society of Jesus by the archbishop of Goa, Don Albuquerque. St Francis Xavier was given the title deeds on behalf of the Society.

    The Dutch later took over the chapel. They reconsecrated it into a Dutch Reformed Church and called it St. Paul's Church. For the following 112 years the Dutch worshiped here, until they built Christ Church at the foot of the hill. St. Paul's Church was then abandoned.

    When the British took over Malacca in 1824 the Church was used as a storehouse for British gun powder.

    In front of the church there is a Statue of St. Francis Xavier. This was placed here in 1954. The statue is missing one arm which is ironic as St Francis Xavier's body was buried in Goa, but his arm removed and taken to Rome as a holy relic.

    Inside the church there are many gravestones with interesting markings. When I arrived initially a tour group had just descended on the church. They were all posing for photos with the tombstones and it was pretty crowded and unpleasant. When they all left, I re-entered and had a look at the tombstones. They were written in Dutch but with translations provided. Many had lovely carvings.

    There were no attendants looking after the church, but there were stall holders, buskers, a man carrying a cockatoo and a huge lizard and charging for photos with them. One guy who had made drawings of the tombstones started covering the stones with signs saying no-one could take photos of the stones, taking photos was stealing and instead they had to pay him for a picture. I deliberately took photos right in front of him as I was disgusted by him sticking things all over the grave stones and by his pathetic attempt to make money.

    On the walk down the hill I visited the small Dutch cemetery, mercifully peaceful after the circus at the top of the hill. It is well worth visiting, but is nowadays way too touristy.

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  • IreneMcKay's Profile Photo

    Gravestones of St Paul's Church

    by IreneMcKay Written Oct 19, 2013

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    Tomb stones
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    St Paul's Church had some lovey gravestones inside with carvings of sailing ships or skulls and cross bones. I was pleased that there was an English translation of the Dutch writing on the tomb stones. There were also several tomb stones and a little Dutch cemetery as I walked down to the famous gate.

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    St. Paul's Church

    by Airpunk Updated Mar 31, 2013

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    St. Paul's Church
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    The Catholic church of St. Paul was built in 1521 and was the main church of the flourishing Portuguese stelling. When the Dutch conquered it in 1641, it became a Dutch Reformed church and continued to be use, until the Christ Church at stadhuys square was finished in 1753. Then, St. Paul's church was deconsecrated and used as a graveyard. The church building itself fell into decay and the situation did not become better when the British used it as a gundpowder storehouse. Next to the building itself, the Dutch 17th century gravestones are of interest. One of them is the gravestone of Maria van Riebeeck, wife of the famous founder of Cape Town. The statue of St. Francis Xavier was placed in front of the church in 1952 to commemorate his arrival in Melaka 400 years before. The day after the statue was unveiled, a tree fell on the statue cutting off his right hand. St. Francis Xavier's right hand was indeed cut off after his death to serve as a relic, but that happened centuries before...

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    St Paul's Church.

    by Askla Updated Dec 21, 2012

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    St Paul's Church was built by the Portuguese in 1521. St Francis Xavier, a missionary who came to Melaka in 1545, often visited here whenever he passed by Melaka during his travels in the area. His empty tomb can now be seen inside (the body was transfered to Goa in India after nine months) as well as a statue of him in front of the church.
    After the Dutch and later the British came to power, the church lost it's importance and it ended up as a storehouse for gunpowder. It has been a ruin for a long time, more than 150 years anyway.
    To reach the church one has to climb the St Paul's Hill which is very steep and could be hard to do if you are not fit enough. There are in fact better combinations than steep stairs (more than 110 steps) and scorching sun without any shadow...

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    St Paul's Church

    by Mikebb Updated Jan 23, 2012

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    St Paul's Church
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    Standing high on the hill overlooking Melaka and the Straits of Malacca this ruin is woth the climb. besides the long history of this church with its Dutch Tombstones there are the magnificent views.

    A small chapel was built in 1521, Our Lady of the Hill. During 1556 the church was enlarged to the 2 storeys that we see in ruin today and named St Paul's Church.

    The Church is associated with St Francis Xavier who regularly visited. in fact after his death in China his body was temporarily interred at St Paul's for 9 months before being transferred to Goa. The ancient tomb remains in the centre of the ruin.

    The church has been in ruins for over 150 years. We first visited this church in 2000 on a family holiday and well worth the climb to visit again.

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  • aussirose's Profile Photo

    Ruins of St Pauls

    by aussirose Updated Sep 10, 2010

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    St Pauls Church ruins, Melaka Malaysia

    Up at the top of St Pauls Hill is the ruins of St Pauls Church.

    It was formerly a chapel named ‘Our Lady of the Hill’ by the Portuguese. The Dutch later renamed it ‘St. Paul’s Church’ .

    On the way up the hill is the original fort built by the Portugese when they arrived in 1511. They called it A Formosa.

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  • Willettsworld's Profile Photo

    St. Paul's Church

    by Willettsworld Written Aug 22, 2010

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    St. Paul's Church now lies in ruins on top of St. Paul's Hill. The hill itself was originally known as Malacca Hill before the church was built. It was renamed Monti Ali Maria, or Mary's Hill after the Portuguese took over. The church was originally a chapel called the Chapel of the Mother of God (Madre de Deus) or Our Lady of the Hill (Nossa Senhora do Oiteiro) and dates back to 1521.

    In 1548, the chapel was passed on to the Society of Jesus by the archbishop of Goa, Don Albuquerque. Francis Xavier received the title deeds on behalf of the Society. In 1556, the Portuguese enlarged the chapel, adding a second storey to it. Further renovation was carried out in 1590 with the addition of a tower.

    When the Dutch wrestled Malacca from the Portuguese in 1641, they destroyed all the Portuguese buildings except for the fortress, on which they placed the Dutch emblem. The Dutch also took over the chapel, repaired and reconsecrated it into a Dutch Reformed Church, calling it St. Paul's Church, a name which remains today. The Dutch used it for their worship for the next 112 years, until they built their own church at the foot of the hill, Christ Church. St. Paul's Church was then abandoned.

    When the British took over Malacca in 1824, St. Paul's Church had lost its tower. However, the British added a lighthouse in front of it and instead of using it as a place of worship, the Church became a convenient storehouse for British gun powder. Old Dutch and Portuguese tombstones can be found inside.

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  • aalayaa's Profile Photo

    the ruin on the hill

    by aalayaa Written Aug 30, 2008

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    we climbed up some steps from porta de santiago, passing some tombstones, and arrived to this place. it's up on a hill with view to the city.
    the building of the church is still there, but no roof. inside we found more tombstones written in latin and dutch. i think it will be scary at nite.

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  • muratkorman's Profile Photo

    Ruins over the hill

    by muratkorman Written May 11, 2008

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    St Paul's Church ruins keep carving stones of Dutch who used to govern Melaka. It is a good spot to look around Melaka and it is always crowded with visiting tourists. As these ruins reflect the colourful history of Melaka, it is worth a visit. Just behind the ruins, you can also visit the Dutch Graveyard.

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  • cs_zee's Profile Photo

    St. Paul's Church

    by cs_zee Written Oct 9, 2007
    Statue at St. Paul's Church ..
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    This imposing ruins on top of a hill overlooking the sea was once a chapel called "Our Lady of the Hill" and was built by Portuguese Captain Duerte Coelho.The Dutch renamed it St Paul's Church after they took over Malacca's rule and used it as a place of worship until Christ Church was completed.

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  • elainetan7906's Profile Photo

    St Paul Church

    by elainetan7906 Written May 22, 2007
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    The Fort was originally built as a chapel by the Portuguese but it was eventually renovated into a fort by the Dutch. The place are in ruin now, but you can still see the tombs, name place, etc. There even have 2 street artist performing there.

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  • y_lyn's Profile Photo

    St Paul's Church

    by y_lyn Updated May 12, 2007

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    This church was originally a small chapel built by a Portuguese Captain called Duarto Coelho in 1521 A.D and called "Nosa Senhora - Our Lady of the Hill". The chapel was handed over to the "Society of Jesus" in 1548 and enlarged in 1556 with the addition of a second storey and renamed "Annuciation". A tower was added in 1590.

    When the Dutch took over Melaka from the Portuguese, they changed its name to St. Paul's Church and used it for 112 years until their own church, The Christ Church was completed in 1753.

    St. Paul's Church lost its tower when the British took over but had one new feature added - the lighthouse at the front. The British however did not use the church for worship, but used it instead for the storage of gunpowder.

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  • mary2u99's Profile Photo

    St. Paul's Church

    by mary2u99 Updated Apr 12, 2007

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    Built by a Portuguese Captain (Duarte Coelho) in 1521 and name it 'Our Lady of the Hill'. The chapel was turned by the Dutch into a burial ground for their noble dead. It was later renamed 'St. Paul's Church. by the British.

    St. Francis Xavier was briefly enshrined in the open grave in 1553 before being shipped to Goa, India.

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  • Jim_Eliason's Profile Photo

    St. Paul's Church.

    by Jim_Eliason Written Feb 25, 2007

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    St. Paul's Church.
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    This church was built by the Portuguese in 1521 and was the one time burial place of St Francis Xavier before the body was moved to Goa. After the Dutch took over they converted the building to a fortress.

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  • pres_16's Profile Photo

    St. Paul's Church Ruins

    by pres_16 Updated Feb 22, 2007

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    Built in 1521, being a catholic, this place is interesting to me especially when I’ve learned that a saint, St. Francis Xavier was buried here in 1553 before his body was transferred to Goa in India. Upon getting inside the church, surprisingly; I discovered that there were tombs with inscriptions arranged by groups, maybe by families.

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