Malacca (also known as Melaka) is astonishingly dappled with old-colonial buildings, Baba Nyonya houses, mosques, temples, churches, museums and intricately decorated trishaws. This UNESCO World Heritage Site in Malaysia beckons heritage advocates and history geeks.
A new reference center is the most recent addition to Melaka’s pride. The gorgeous Hang Tuah Center , as its name suggest showcases Hang Tuah’s supremacy. “Never shall the Malays vanish from this world again”, a powerful statement believed to have been uttered by Hang Tuah himself. Raised in Kampung Sungai Duyong, Melaka, he is an iconic warrior in Malaccan history. Despite debates over his race and existence and his tragic friendship with Hang Jebat, Hang Tuah remains a hero in Malaccan history and literature.
On our recent trip to Melaka for the “amazing-race” inspired Malaysia Tourism Hunt 2013, we drove to the impressive Hang Tuah Center. The main dwelling reflective of Malay architecture framed by five astoundingly beautiful warriors houses representing Hang Tuah and his comrades (the finest warriors in Melaka) ; Hang Lekir, Hang Kasturi, Hang Lekiu, Hang Jebat and Hang Tuah, welcomed us.
The Hang Tuah Center’s main residence boasts of tiled stairs, timber walls, gable roof (bumbung panjang) and windows with slanted wooden panels embellished with floral and geometric bas-relief designs. It houses two galleries: Gallery Hang Mahmud displays Hang Tuah as a great fighter and his legendary clash with his bestfriend Hang Jebat; visitors can learn the art of self-defense here through some sort of illusion technique while Gallery Dang Merdu showcases cultural and historical exhibits pertaining to Hang Tuah. At the mini auditorium of the main house, we watched a short animation of Hang Tuah’s life story. The area is also used for cultural performances, seminars and film screening. We tried some Malaysian traditional games such as sepak takraw or sepak raga (kick volleyball), trompo (whipping top) and kite making. The silat martial art was also performed unfortunately our team was too caught up with kite making so we missed it.
The other four equally impressive warriors houses in Hang Tuah Center also have gable roofs (bumbung panjang), the most modest type of roof in Malay architecture and said to be the most efficient when it comes to ventilation. These dwellings are designed with carved balustrades, tiles staircases, painted with varnish creating a wood dark brown effect and like other traditional Malay houses they are standing on piles. Although they may have similar façade, each warrior’s home flaunts different exhibits. At Hang Jebat’s house you can find traditional Malay weaponry as well as traditional Malay music for sale. Hang Lekir’s dwelling oozes with Malay traditional weapons, handicrafts, and gems, perfect souvenirs! Meanwhile Hang Lekiu’s abode serves as the cultural center. Hang Kasturi’s House is clad by diverse fashion collections dating back to the Portuguese colonization, the British era, and the Melaka Malay Sultanate period.
Huang Tuah Center Hours of Operation:
Daily 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Huang Tuah Center Entrance Fee :
Adult – RM 5 Children (below 12 years old) – RM 3
Phone Number: 06-2826526 / 06-2811289 / 06 -2818784 E-mail: [email protected]