Photo Gallery

Bukit China Cemetery (at least 17th century onward)

Bukit China is the largest Chinese cemetery outside of mainland China. Graves can be found here that go back to the late Ming dynasty (mid 17th century). The earliest grave found so far dates to 1622, but unfortunately many graves were exhumed during the British occupation of Malaysia.

Somewhat earlier, the Portuguese built a Franciscan chapel on this hill dedicated to "Madre de Deus" (Mother of God) but it was destroyed along with an adjacent monastery during the Achinese attack of 1629.

The early cemetery that existed on this site (including the one grave dated to 1622) was fairly small. The site was greatly expanded during the Dutch occupation when Kapitan China (a Portuguese term for the head of the Chinese community) Lee Wei King bought the hill from the Dutch and donated it to the Chinese community of Melaka for use as a burial ground. It now contains over 12,500 graves and is almost full. Public burials have ceased, and what few open plots remain are reserved for members of the Standing and Advisory committee of Cheng Hoon Teng temple.


The approximate location of the cemetery is 2.199517' N, 102.257790' E (WGS 84 map datum).


All images 2005 Timothy M. Ciccone

Chin, Lim Bee. My Penang
  Lim Bee Chin, 2005. Malaysia

Khoo Joo Ee. The Straits Chinese: A Cultural History
  The Pepin Press, 1998. Amsterdam

Nyen, Robert Tan Sin. Historic Malacca Pot-pourri
  Aim Press Sdn Bhd., 1990. Melaka

Pintado, M.J. A Stroll Through Ancient Malacca
  Loh Printing Press (M) Sdh Bhd., 1978. Melaka

Shareen Corporate Communications Sdn Bhd. Melaka: The Historic City of Malaysia
  Malaysia Mining Corporation Berhad, 1992. Kuala Lumpur

Rowthorn, et. al. Lonely Planet: Malaysia, Singapore, and Brunei
  Lonely Planet Publications Ltd., 2001. Malaysia

Yeang, Ken. The Architecture of Malaysia
  The Pepin Press, 1992. Amsterdam

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Tony Khong posted on Sat Jul 21, 2012 4:51 am:

The Sungai Besi Area Cemetery has some 250,000 residents buried or cremated in an area of 500 acres but the Bukit China Cemetery, Melaka has only over 12,500 graves and is almost full. Why do you say that it is the LARGEST Chinese cemetery outside China when it is so much smaller than the Sg. Besi one?

lena posted on Mon Jan 30, 2012 5:26 am:

good write-up. Questions- why were the graves exhumed during Nritish rule? Why did Lee Wee Ping had to buy the hill from the Dutch? Did it not belong to the chinese community since Hang Li Poh's time?

Website: asian historical architecture
Sweetie posted on Mon Sep 05, 2011 3:07 am:

very nice....i love it very much

armoniaEddy posted on Wed May 26, 2010 12:34 am:

I would like to know more about the Bukit Cemetery. I just visited in Malacca but our guide couldn't tell us more about it. Tank you