One of historical hill not only in Melaka but worldwide is Bukit Cina. It is located in the middle of Melaka town. It is about 5 km from Melaka Sentral. This hill features 5 other hills including Bukit Cina, Bukit Tempurung, Bukit Tengah, Bukit Tinggi dan Bukit Gedong. Bukit Cina is very well known because it is the largest Chinese graveyard outside of China. There are more than 12,500 graves including about 20 Muslim tombs in the 25 hectares grassy hill. It is reputed to be the earliest Chinese settlement in Melaka. The earliest grave found to 1622 but unfortunately many graves were exhumed during the British come to Malaysia.
It is also Melaka’s best jogging track.
History of Bukit Cina
According to the Malay history, it was said that the China dynasty wanted to have diplomatic relationship with Melaka’s Sultanate and sent his daughter, Princess Hang Li Po to marry Sultan Mansor Shah (1457-1477). The princess came with a sizable Chinese settlers which included her 500 handmaidens. The Sultan choose one of hill nearest to Bukit Melaka (now it called Bukit Saint Paul) for his wife. The Chinese entourage and their descendants remained at Bukit Cina until the fall of Melaka to the Portuguese in 1511.
It was reported that during the Portuguese occupation of Melaka, a Franciscan Monastery and a chapel dedicated to ‘Madre de Deus’ (Mother of God) was erected at the hilltop. It was destroyed when the Achinese attacked the Dutch in 1629. The Dutch Government subsequently took control of Bukit Cina. In 1700’s during Dutch occupation, Kapitan Li Wei King bought Bukit Cina and donated the hill to Hoon Teng temple to be used as burial ground. Before that, Bukit Cina was not a cemetery.
In the foothill there’s a well that was used by the princess and her servants. The well is called Perigi Raja or Perigi Hang Li Po. This well is famously known because it never dry out and become a source of water in dry season.
In 1677, the Dutch built a wall to keep it as their ‘wishing well’. Now, the well has become a tourist attraction and many tourists come to this well to make a wish and put their coin inside the well.
The hill is still an active cemetery although only a few plots are left especially reserved for the Cheng Hoon Temple.
Since the British rule, there had been several attempts to acquire Bukit Cina for development purpose but the Cheng Hoon Teng Temple strongly opposed these attempt and manage to preserve Bukit Cina.
What Can You Do at Bukit Cina?
Bukit Cina is famous for its historical Chinese graveyard. There are many unique cemetery on the hill. Other than that, there’s a jogging trail. From the top of the hill you can get a great view of the city, you can see the full circle panorama of the city and the island nearest to Melaka. Many people spend their time here to jog or just walking, especially for those who want to maintain their fitness.
At the foot of Bukit Cina, Poh San Teng Temple still active and become attraction to the tourist. The temple was built in 1795 by her ancestor Kapitan Chua Su Cheong.
This is a good place if you have a lot of free time and need a place to sweat out and indulge yourself with nature.