The fascinating seaside city of Melaka (Malacca) preserves the
historic convergence of Chinese and European cultures. Its
strategic position on the Straits of Melaka brought a tide of trade
with China, India, Siam and Indonesia. Colonial powers wrestled for
control, and much of the Portuguese influence from the 1500s is
cemented in its architecture. The most notable cultural presence
today is predominantly Chinese. Chinese merchants continue to ply
their trades in the tradition of their forefathers. Open-air
markets burst with colourful fruit, vegetable and fish produce. The
oldest Chinese temple in Malaysia, Cheng Hoon Teng together with
the vast Chinese cemetery, support a thriving industry entirely
dedicated to the deceased. The merging of Chinese and Malay have
produced a unique ethnic group found in Melaka, the Baba-Nyonya.
The unique lifestyle of this micro-culture can be explored in a
dedicated Baba-Nyonya museum.
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