Exploring the Old Johor Sultanate in Kota Tinggi (25th Sept. 2018)

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To learn more about the Old Johor Sultanate, we headed out to visit the Kota Tinggi Museum, a 40-min drive north towards the start of the Johor River. In contrast to all the information available on Government-run websites, the museum doors were closed behind red and white tape. We had two reasons’s for todays’ trip, one was to do research for our next documentary film and the other was to take a newbie to Johor Bahru to see what was in the area, so the closed doors were more than a little frustrating.

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So, we visited four points of interest near the museum which we had found on Google Maps; these were the resting places of significant historical figures. Then we had a tasty lunch in a buffet-style restaurant (Medan Selera RHD) followed by a drive south to introduce our new friend Carolyn to Kota Johor Lama. It was a long hot day but visiting the sites of historical significance helped bring the characters of Old Johor to life.

Kota Tinggi was the centre of government in 1688, when Sultan Mahmud Shah II moved from Riau to Kota Tinggi (‘Kota’ means ‘fort’). But forts had been built along the Johor River ever since 1528 when the founder of the Malacca-Johor Sultanate, Sultan Alauddin Riayat Shah II (r. 1528-1564), moved here after the fall of Malacca to the Portuguese in 1511. Under constant threat from the Portuguese, the Dutch, and the Acehnese Sultanate, the Sultans of Johor were constantly on the move, relocating up and down the Johor River. Maybe we will be able to visit the eight fort cities one day, but that might be one challenge too many!

Here are links to the places we visited on this trip:

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© Helen Gray 2020