Proposition of the Geo-Location of The Melaka Sultanate Bridge
Over five centuries ago, stand a bridge spans the Melaka River linking the cosmopolitan city of Upeh and the royal compound of Melaka Sultanate. Sultan Mansor Syah, the sixth sultan of Melaka, gave the order for its construction. Undoubtedly, the Melaka Sultanate's bridge is a vital and remarkable construct, holding great importance for the city across various levels. Nevertheless, there hasn't been a critical examination to determine the precise location and orientation of the bridge concerning its current geographical environment. This study is a component of a broader reconstruction research project focused on the Melaka Sultanate bridge. Identification of the bridge's position and alignment in relation to the modern geographical context is expected to enhance our understanding and inform the reconstruction process more effectively. In this study, a narrative analysis framework is utilized to meticulously examine descriptive hints regarding the bridge's whereabouts and alignment. These clues are extracted from ancient texts originating from China, Melaka, and Portugal, all written during or near the Sultanate era. The outcomes of the narrative analysis were cross-referenced with a compilation of municipal plans dating from the Portuguese and Dutch periods in Melaka. The objective was to identify discernible indicators that offer credible evidence of the preservation of traditional elements from the Melaka Sultanate's urban structure. These identified elements were then employed as the basis for constructing a compelling argument regarding the bridge's location and alignment. The results of the narrative analysis and visual anthropological study indicate that the original location of the Sultanate bridge was along the riverbank, running in continuous with the primary street along Bendahara Village. Interestingly, this alignment precisely leads to the main gate of A’Famosa, in contrast to the Portuguese and Dutch bridges, which deviate from this main gate. This study is subject to certain limitations as it depends on English translations when interpreting ancient Chinese and Portuguese texts. Nonetheless, the broader objective of this Melaka Sultanate reconstruction project is oriented towards long-term historical tourism, in alignment with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 8.9 and 11.4.
Copyright (c) 2023 Fauzan Mustaffa, Peter Woods Charles, Harold Thwaites, Eugene Ch’ng, Lim Yan Peng
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