Jan 19, 2011

Nostalgia : A Quick Visit to Jakarta Old Town Area

Let me take you to a brief tour inside Jakarta old town area. Two weeks ago, we visit this area for the first time. It’s located near Jakarta Kota train station. Though it’s only a quick visit, I really enjoy it.

Entering the old town area, there is a wide square used as a plaza in colonial era. In the middle of the square, there’s antique fountain water. I saw the fountain is dysfunction and dirty. Sigh. I can say that all things in this area aren’t kept well. The lack of fund is always become the main reason.

When I visited this place, the plaza was full of people. You can rent old bikes to wandering around the plaza. There are several old buildings around the plaza, such as a post office and some museums. We only had short time as we must catch the train, so, we just entered the most famous museum there, Museum Sejarah Jakarta (Jakarta History Museum) that it’s more known as Fatahillah Museum.

It turned out that the museum will close at 3.00 pm every day. We had just 30 minutes. Pay the very cheap ticket (Rp 2000,-), you can walk around the museum.

Outside The Fatahillah Museum

In the front of the museum building, there is a wide square that I mentioned before. At the both side of the entry door, there are 2 cannons which stand across the cobblestone square.

On the back yard, there is a souvenir shop. You can see the famous “Si Jagur” cannon, a 16th century Portuguese cannon. I’ve ever heard that “Si Jagur” is believed as a sacred thing, but I saw some visitors didn’t treat the cannon with respect. They rode the cannon like you’re riding a horse. Across “Si Jagur”, there is the Hermes God statue which used to be placed on Harmoni Bridge. I don’t know why it must be moved.

Short History
At 17th century, this area was a center of Batavia City (later become Jakarta). It is a capital city of Netherland Indies Government at colonial era, an era of Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie (VOC), a trading company from Netherland.

This 2 floors colonial style building was built on January 1707. At that time, this building was used as a Stadhuis (City Hall) for Netherland Indies Government. As a government building at colonial era, there were offices; court chamber; and underground prisons in it.

Here come the scary spots. There are 5 units of underground prison cell in this building to jail thieves, robbers, murderers, rebels, and desertion military officers. Made from concrete wall with iron bars as its door, it’s 8 x 3 meters wide without any proper ventilation beside the door. You can’t breathe well inside! There are many iron balls used to chain prisoners ankle in these cells with 100 kgs weight and volley ball size.

Every cell commonly filled to 80 prisoners. Can you imagine their suffering? Inside the cell, I felt so scare, this dark and narrow cell makes you feel so uncomfortable!

On March 30, 1974, Jakarta Governor, Ali Sadikin, launched this building as a museum and opened to public. I really like seeing the building architecture. It’s a pity that the museum building hasn’t yet obtained good maintenance. You still can see broken things here and there.

I think visitors are willing to pay more for the entry ticket; as long the added fund will be used properly to maintain the museum and the whole area. We must keep well this treasure, because I want to take my grandchildren to visit this area one day…

Well, I’ll share things inside the museum in another Nostalgia post. Until next time!

Data source:google


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