THE STRAIT OF MALACCA (MALAYSIA) WITH ITS ROLE IN THE NETWORK OF MARITIME TRADE IN ASIA AND EAST – WEST CULTURAL EXCHANGE IN THE MIDDLE AGES
Founded around 1404, as the oldest city in Malaysia, Malacca (Malay: Melaka) is a bustling gathering place for traders from China, India, Arab and European countries. With its geostrategic location as it lies on an important maritime route from Europe, Africa, South Asia, the Middle East to East Asia, Malacca has become one of the region’s largest international trading ports of Southeast Asia region in particular and the world in general. This commercial port held a golden position in the East - West-trading system in the middle ages. Besides the favorable economic conditions, this is also the place that carries many imprints of cultural interference, the place of exchange between the Eastern and Western civilizations. The multicultural imprints has clearly shown in the life, architecture and religion in Malacca city from the past to the present. In this article, we focus on researching about the geostrategic position of Malacca trading port and the East - West cultural exchange in this city that was known as a “Venice of Asia”.