Christ Church is located close to Malacca’s Chinatown centre. Just down the road from the popular Jonker Street, it is one of the most popular sightseeing attractions in the Stadthuys area. Just outside are colourful trishaws and directly opposite is the Historical Museum and Ethnographical Museum.
The area is stepped in Baba Nyonya culture with opulent ‘Baba merchants’ houses and elegantly-conserved Nyonya restaurants that line the constricted roads. Christ Church is small – once inside, right beside the front doors there is a long table with brochures and religious paraphernalia for sale set up. There are about ten rows of pews before the main altar and the whole place has old light fixtures and plenty of worn-but-well-kept tiles.
Christ Church History
Built by the Dutch when they took possession of Malacca from the Portuguese, Christ Church is one of Malacca’s most defining structures. Situated along Jalan Gereja (also known as Church Street) it is an instantly recognizable brick-red building with a huge white cross at the top. Sitting opposite the Stadhuys, Christ Church was built in 1753 to celebrate a century of Dutch occupation. The interior of the cathedral has 200 year-old handmade pews, decorative fanlights and plaques that honour Dutch soldiers and locals.
Besides its commemorative purpose, Christ Church was constructed due to the fact that when the Dutch first conquered Malacca, they had no place of worship other than St. Paul’s Church, a small chapel built on St. Paul Hill.
Later on, when the British took over Malacca they added a weathercock and bell to Christ Church and transformed it from a Protestant church into an Anglican one. Entrance into the basilica is free; it is not a big building and the interior is dark yet cosy, with dark polished wooden pews that face the altar and large timber crucifixes that hang on the walls. Meanwhile, outside the church is a beautiful collection of potted plants and a colourful group of trishaws lined up for tourists.
Address: Jalan Kota Melaka, Melaka