Wednesday, November 25, 2009

MELAKA - Flora de la Mar, Sultan's Palace

The opening scene of my novel takes place on a 17th century sailing ship. The Flora de la Mar, which I visited in 2008, is a replica of an early 16th century vessel, but nevertheless is a valuable help for a landlubber like me to visualize what what it was like to be on a sailing vessel.
This marine museum at Malaka is modeled after the Flora de la Mar, a Portuguese galleon that sank in the Straits of Malaka on January 26, 1512. The museum is located at Jalan Quayside near the mouth of the Melaka River. The Flor de la Mar is 34 meters high and 8 meters wide. The museum focuses on the maritime history of Melaka and the golden age of the Melaka sultanate as the Emporium of the East.

Above: A stern or aft view. The top part of the ship here is called aftercastle.
Above: The crows' nest or top on the main mast.
Above: The windows belong to the aftercastle where you'll find the captain's cabin on the quarterdeck.
Above: Looking towards the bow of the galleon. A lone cannon sticks out of a porthole.
Above: Looking towards the stern of the galleon and the aftercastle. Notice the mizzen mast for the lateen sail.
Above: Stern view; the vessel is as tall as a six-storey building.
Above: stern view showing clearly the aftercastle.
Above: Shows how the rigging is attached.
Above: Boarding the vessel.
Above: As soon as you step on board, the bow of the ship is on your left, showing the forecastle.
Above: Climb the companionway and you're on the poop deck where you find the rigging gear.
Above: From the quarterdeck the captain has a clear view of the main deck (waist of the ship) and the bow of the vessel with the forecastle, usually used for storage.
Above: On the quarterdeck you'll find the captain's cabin.
Above: Go up one more level and the captain has a clear view of the poop deck and the main deck, as well as the bow of the ship.
Above: From the quarterdeck the captain has a clear view of the main deck as well as the bow of the ship.
Above: The main mast and crows' nest or top from the quarterdeck.
Above: Going to the bow you will find the map room.
Above: The map room.
Above: Hatches on the main deck which lead down into the hold.
Above: The anchors.
Above: A view of the Flora de la Mar from the bow, clearly showing the forecastle and sprit.

THE SULTAN'S PALACE, MELAKA (Kesultanan Melaka).

Above: The Sultan’s Palace (Kesultanan Melaka) is a replica of the Istana Kesultanan Melayu Malaka built during the reign of Sultan Mansur Syah (1456-1477). This building was started in 1984 and took two years to complete.

Above: Siamese traders at Melaka. Although relationship between Melaka and Siam were strained, trade relations between them continued. According to Tom Pires and Ray de Brito, this trade was continued because of Melaka’s need for essential foodstuffs from Siam. Each year, almost thirty large Siamese junks would arrive in Melaka to trade. The Siamese brought their commodities like teak, copper, gold, silver and ivory. They would take back with them goods like silk, porcelain, tea, iron and gunpowder which had been brought to Melaka by Chinese traders, as well as sandalwood, cloves and nutmeg from the Javanese. The Siamese also took back with them slaves they bought in Melaka.

The palace of the Malay sultanate of Melaka was constructed together with a garden known as the Forbidden Garden. This Forbidden Garden was the play area for the princesses during the era of the Melaka sultanate. Although it was never clearly recorded that such a garden existed at the palace, by comparison with other palaces of the Malay world, it can be visualized that such a palace existed in Melaka too. As was related by a Chinese traveler, there were various types of trees and flowering plants such as jasmine, frangipani, kenanga (fragrant greenish yellow flower [champaka?]), as well as herbal plants such as lemon grass, tongkat ali, and others.

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