Melaka, also known as Malacca, is both a city and a state. The city of Melaka is the capital of the state of Melaka and one of thirteen states in the Federation of Malaysia. Covering an area of 243 sq. kilometers with an estimated population of just over 180,000 at last count (early 2007), Melaka is Malaysia's most fascinating and historically important city. This is where present day Malaysia first came to the attention of the world in the 15th century. Melaka is often referred to as the heart and soul of Malaysia and being a bit off the beaten track it has managed to retain its unique charm and relaxed lifestyle. In addition to the abundance of historical sites Melaka is one of the best value for money destinations in Asia that makes it one of the best family vacation destinations anywhere. The government has long been promoting Bahasa Melayu as the National Language in an effort to promote national unity, even so almost everyone in Melaka speaks near perfect English - so much so that even if you do speak Bahasa Melayu (or even Bahasa Indonesian) most folks will reply to you in English.