Kota Johor Lama

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Kota Johor Lama is the 15th century Old Johor Fort on the banks of the Johor River. While there is nothing but some grassy mounds left to denote the fort, there is a quite interesting museum (see above) which is open from 9 am to 5 pm daily. So, if you plan a trip to Desaru beach, or the Desaru Fruit Farm, then take a brief detour here along Route 92 to learn some local history.

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The summary introduction for visitors says: The fort was built in 1540 during the reign of Sultan Aladdin Riayat Shah II to defend Sungei Johor ( Johor River). After the fall of the Malay Sultanate of Malacca in 1511, Sungei Johor became the reigning centre of the region to counter attack the Portuguese in Malacca. But, in 1587, the fort fell to the Portuguese and was burnt down.


The museum will tell you a lot more and has on display some artefacts recovered here and nearby along the river. On the left below are replicas of Achehnese tombstones found near Kota Tinggi, and below right are cannon balls.

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The museum itself is built in traditional Malay style, and opened in 2007. So, it is a wooden stilted house surrounded by vegetation.

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The display cabinets contained examples of period items; the handles of the weapons (knives) were particularly interesting.

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As we left the museum, we spotted a couple of lizards rooting around for grubs. Size-wise, this one is probably around two foot long.

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Just as you drive out of the museum carpark, take a moment to look out to the left over the Johor River, and try and imagine this place back in the 15th century.

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