Melaka's old town square
The old colonial town square of Melaka

Melaka, sometimes spelled Malacca, is a small former city-state a few hours south of Kuala Lumpur. The sultanate became an important trading center in the early 15th century, lying halfway between China and India, and with easy access to Siam and the spice islands of Indonesia. The Portuguese arrived almost exactly 100 years later. After less than 150 years, the Dutch in their turn conquered and took over the port, only to be replaced by the British after another 150 years.

With its long history at the crossroads of many cultures, and occupation by many different European masters, Melaka has a rich supply of historical and cultural attractions.