The Star Malaysia - Star2
Heeren’s hidden heritage
It’s one of malacca’s lesser-known tourist attractions, but it’s also one of its most historic.
PRETTY much everyone who visits Malacca will invariably visit the famous Jalan Hang Jebat, aka Jonker Street, thanks to its touristfriendly souvenir shops and wellrenovated cafes and restaurants.
But as we discovered at our recent BRATs Malacca 2014 camp, the street running right next to it has just as much hidden magic – Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock, better known as Heeren Street.
The name “Heeren” is a remnant of the Dutch colonisation of Malacca. The word is the Dutch equivalent of “lord”, used to refer to the highest class of gentlemen.
But the architecture along Heeren Street bears more than just Dutch influences – it reflects the wider history of Malacca, all on one street.
On one end, you have Dutchstyle buildings like No. 8 Heeren Street – which you absolutely must visit. Towards the other end, you see buildings that resemble many heritage buildings in Penang and Ipoh, because they were built by the same people – the British.
The striking Chee family mansion, on the other hand, reflects more recent history. The majestic white mansion (soon to be a museum) was built in the 1920s where a shop house once stood. Interestingly, the family decided to take a significant portion of the land to create a front lawn. Why? Because back then, cars were the ultimate symbol of wealth, and what better way to flaunt them than on your own front lawn?
On top of all that, you can also find Tun Tan Cheng Lock’s family home, the beautifully decorated Baboon House cafe, the Baba & Nyonya House Museum and so much more.
So, the next time you’re in Malacca, do take some time off to take a closer look around Heeren Street. There’s so much history to be picked up on!