MELAKA (Bernama): A great mosque once existed beneath A' Famosa, says the Melaka Museum Corporation (Perzim).
"A great mosque did exist, however it is not near Porta de Santiago (the gateway of the Portuguese fortress, A’ Famosa), but near Bulatan Kancil in front of The Stadthuys (Dutch town hall), ” said Perzim general manager Mohd Nasruddin Rahman.
He was responding to reporters’ enquiries about a promo teaser that recently aired for an upcoming episode of an Islamic documentary series by a local TV station which claimed the ruins exist beneath the remnants of the fortress.
He said people are confused because they assume A’ Famosa is the Porta de Santiago or southern gateway when it was actually a part of Melaka town.
"So, it is correct when the documentary says that the great mosque is in A’ Famosa, ” he said when met at his office on Thursday (May 6).
He said the Portuguese built A’ Famosa -- which was initially known as Fortaleza de Malaca -- to fend off attackers, including Sultan Mahmud Shah who wanted to recapture Melaka.
"To fortify their position, they expanded it and named it A’ Famosa, ” said Mohd Nasruddin.
So while it is true the mosque is beneath A’ Famosa,"the public perception of ‘A’ Famosa’ is wrong”, he said.
He said Portuguese and local records acknowledge the mosque was burnt down by the Portuguese when they captured Melaka.
"It is somewhere around here, which is why we built the Surau Warisan as a symbol of its existence.
"In fact, there is a building beneath the Stadthuys which predates it. But we’re not sure what it is," Mohd Nasruddin said.
He said A’ Famosa was built over the ruins of Melaka town and that the Portuguese reused material from the ruins -- including the mosque and palace - to build it.
"The town covered a big area -- around 3km. It had a main palace, palace for the consort, fort and settlement. So various materials were available for the Portuguese to build A’ Famosa, ” he said.- Bernama