Encompassing an area of 658 sq.km, Melaka is located on the south-western coast of Peninsular Malaysia, about 147 km or a hours drive from Kuala Lumpur. The capital of the state is Melaka City, also dubbed as Malaysia's Historical City.
An exiled Hindu prince from Sumatra by the name of Parameswara founded the state in 1400 and became the first ruler of the famed Melaka Sultanate. He subsequently embraced Islam and established the foundations of an empire which reached its heyday during the reign of Sultan Mansor Shah.
Its lucrative spice trade and importance as a sea port made it a prized possession in the Far East, resulting in the Portugese conquest in 1551. After 130 years of Portugese rule, the Dutch wrested control of Melaka in 1641 and ruled the state until 1826 when it was taken over by the British, who stayed on until the country attained independence in 1957.
Melaka's population is a polylot of races comprising Malays, Chinese, Indians, descendants of the Portuguese and the Baba-Nyonya community who have adopted much of the Malay culture into theirs.
Visitor to the state invariably head for the city of Melaka as most of the historical within the city. Of particular interest is the Heritage Trail within the city centre where the major historical sites can be found. It is best to take a walking tour to the various spots. One can also take a leisurely trishaw ride through the city's narrow, winding streets and allow one's imagination to be stirred by the images of a bygone era.