Triwindu Antique Market is the center of excitement for lovers and collectors of antiques. Also known as Windujenar Market, Triwindu Antique Market is located on Jalan Diponegoro, not far from the Mangkunegaran Palace in Solo, Central Java. Upon entering the market complex, you will be greeted by a pair of statues, a man and a woman sitting in the cross-legged position. Solely dedicated to the sale of antiques, the atmosphere in Triwindu differs from other markets.

The building itself, wherein the market is situated, is a two-story, wooden structure that has stood since 1945, adding to the “antique” feel of the building. Strolling across the numerous aisles, you will be treated to various forms of antiques from different times in the past. The artifacts housed within these walls vary greatly in shape, history and cultural background, yet all display an element of high artistic value and admirable craftsmanship. Antiques found in the market can be made of gold, silver, copper, wood, ceramics, paper or cloth.

The variety of antiques available for sale also differ from one another in manner of usage. The first floor contains mostly smaller items. Accessories are just a small portion of the ancient artifacts on display, and include necklaces, bracelets, rings, earrings and hair accessories. The second floor is home to larger items ranging from automotive tools, no longer in existence, to old fashioned bicycles, antique cabinets, beds, tables, chairs and other furniture items.

An interestingly unique feature of Triwindu Antique Market is that the barter system is still in place as a valid means of transaction. Here you can bring your own antique items to exchange for a different piece that you admire. Items housed within this market range in price from just a few hundred thousand to tens of millions of rupiah. The value of an item varies depending on age, history and condition of the item. Although some items date back hundreds of years, most are in good condition and many are still functioning. Triwindu Antique Market is open daily from 09:00 AM - 04:00 PM.

 

Get There

The Adisumarmo International Airport is located 14 KM north of Solo city. The airport is internationally connected to Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, and domestic flights are available from Jakarta, Pangkalanbun, and Pontianak.

If you prefer travel over land, there is also a Jakarta-Solo route by train. The journey takes between 11-12 hours before arrival at Solo Balapan Station. There are also Jakarta-Solo routes by bus. Once in Solo, the market is located on Diponegoro Road, within the city center. You can get there by public transport, private car or hired car.

Located near the Kraton, this place was also known as the garden for the Sultan of Yogyakarta. Tamansari was originally built for multiple purposes yet now only several buildings remain. Some of its original functions were a place to rest, to meditate, to work, to hide and to defend the Sultan’s family.  In this present day, some of its buildings have now become homes for local residents and only the mosque, resting and bathing space, and underground tunnels are accessible by tourists.

With its combination of eastern and western style building, this unique escape of the royal family has its own appeal and story. The most famous place in Tamansari is the bathing and resting place of the Sultan and his Princesses named Umbul Pasiraman. Most tourists find this place interesting as there is a unique story behind its origins.

The Sultan loves to go hunting during his free time and The Umbul Pasiraman was designed to appease the Sultan of that desire. Different from the Panggung Krapyak which was designed to hunt deer, the Umbul Pasiraman (which means a place to take a bath) was designed for the Princesses to take a bath and for the Sultan to relax and ‘hunt’ for a wife.

To catch his ‘two-legged prey’, it is said that the Sultan would throw a rose from the high tower on the south of the pool and the Princess who caught that rose will be his ‘wife’. Usually, the ones who would catch the rose would either be the Queen or his concubines. There are three different pools at Umbul Pasiraman namely Umbul Binangun, Umbul Muncar and Blumbang Kuras each a different area for the daughters of Sultan and his potential wives to bathe.

Other than the Umbul Pasiraman, visitors can also explore an underground tunnel and  mosque. The tunnel was once a hideout but now is not functional as it is partially used for local residences. Unlike most mosques, the mosque on this premise is a unique circle shaped building, with Sumur Gumilang beneath which was a place for the Sultan to pray.

 

Get There

Tamansari is only a few blocks from Kraton and can be reached by walking about 15 minutes from there. People can also use becak to go to this place. For those who use vehicle, you can go to Jl. Taman Sari through the Pasar Ngasem area and enter the East Gate as it has bigger parking lot.

Get Around

Tamansari is located near Pasar Ngasem where people could buy various local foods. A lot of stores and stalls also sell souvenirs along the road.

The Kraton (also spelled keraton or karaton) or the Palace of Yogyakarta, is a grand complex that was meticulously planned to reflect the Javanese cosmos.

This elegant complex of pavilions was constructed based on ancient beliefs, of the connection between the God, human and the natural realms. Each feature holds a special symbolic meaning related to the Javanese worldview, who consider the importance of Mount Merapi and The Indian Ocean.

The Kraton was built in the center, facing directly north towards the majestic Mount Merapi. Its south side was built facing the Indian Ocean, believed to be the abode of Kanjeng Ratu Loro Kidul, the Queen of the South Seas and the mystical consort of the Sultan. This splendid example of traditional Javanese architecture has no equal. The basic and original layout of the main building of The Kraton began its construction during the reign of Sultan Hamengku Buwono I, in 1755 - 1756.

The Kraton, Reflection of Javanese Cosmos

Other surrounding pavilions were then gradually expanded by the successor of the throne. The official symbol of the palace is named Praja Cihna. It depicts important elements that radiate a philosophical meaning. The Javanese lettering in the center is “ha” and “ba”, the acronym of Hamengku Buwana. The red is a symbol of courage and vigilance to value the truth, while the gold is a symbol of majestic splendor.

A green square called Alun-alun Lor or the north square is set to be the front side of the palace, with large banyan trees guarding its center, named Kyai Dewandaru and Kyai Wijayandaru. Alun-alun Kidul or the south square is located at the other side of the palace’s north-south invisible horizontal axis.

This palace was designed to be more than just a royal residence. It was built to be a focal point of the Sultan’s entire kingdom. When a sultan passed away, the cortege will leave by the southern gate and head its way to the royal cemetery located in Imogiri.

Today, the Kraton is a piece of living history and tradition. It continues to be used, both as a home of the Sultan as well as for other important ceremonial and cultural functions of the Yogyakarta court. Sitihinggil is the highest level of the Kraton area, where the formal ceremonies like the coronation are held. There are two Sitihinggil pavilions in the palace area.

Sitihinggil Lor is located on the north side and Sitihinggil Kidul is on the south side, that later was repurpose from the location of the army’s rehearsal point, to become a monument dedicated to mark 200 years of the Yogyakarta sultanate named Gedung Sasana Hinggil Dwi Abad. On weekends, you can enjoy art performances such as music, dance and the special wayang kulit or leather puppet show.

Near this building is the Alun-alun Kidul, a destination renowned for the festive evening ambiance and the mysterious Masangin tradition. Said to be an acronym of “masuk diantara beringin” or literally “entering between the beringins”, this is definitely one of the signatures local experience to try.
In this test, you will only need to walk between the two sacred beringin or banyan trees, and if you succeed, then you are considered to have a pure heart and will have any of your wishes granted. The only twist is, you have to be blindfolded to do it!

The Kraton, Reflection of Javanese Cosmos

After a few tries, you can just linger in the open square and enjoy all the fun atmosphere surrounding this famous spot. In The Kraton complex, there are 7 specific zoning that consists of several pavilions, each with designated purpose and is separated by gateways. The sultan’s residence resides at the center Kedhaton area, named Kraton Kilen.

One of the interesting highlights inside The Kraton is The Hamengku Buwono IX museum. It holds a collection of memorabilia and significant items that belong to the late father of the currently reigning Sultan Hamengku Buwono X, who is also the Governor of the Special Region of Yogyakarta until this day. There are also painting museum, regalia museum, and royal carriage museum. Each of these beautiful royal carriages has specific names and interesting historical value. They are also used for special occasion such as the royal wedding ceremonies.

The Sultan’s title is not the only hereditary position in The Kraton. You can also meet the Abdi Dalem, who are the faithful caretakers of the royal households. This noble devotion is an honorable pride that is passed down from a generation to the next.

Even with Yogyakarta’s modernization nowadays, the Kraton of Yogyakarta continues to be respected by the people of Yogyakarta. Although the majority of Yogyakarta are Muslim, ancient tradition and mysticism still hold an important part of The Kraton’s rituals.

The Kraton, Reflection of Javanese Cosmos

Periodically, special ceremonies are held to clean the sacred objects in the Royal collection. In the afternoons, after the palace is closed to visitors, women in traditional costume can also be seen respectfully sprinkling water and flowers on the pillars, lighting incense to cleanse The Kraton from impure intention and evil spirits.

Get Around

Visitors can explore the palace’s interiors on foot. The palace is open to visitors from 08.30 am to 12.30 pm except on Fridays and Saturdays which it closes at 11.00 am. It is closed in the afternoons. Note that there are also special rules made to be respected when you visit The Kraton, so please make sure you follow them for a memorable experience in Yogyakarta.
After visiting The Kraton area, you can also stroll around the nearby attractions, such as Malioboro Street and Beringharjo Market. Taman Sari complex is also related to the royal history, and it consists of a beautiful water castle and a unique underground mosque named Sumur Gumuling.

Address: 

Jl. Rotowijayan Blok No. 1, Kota Yogyakarta, Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta

Get There

Located about 11 km from Adisucipto International Airport, The Kraton can be accessed by cars, taxi, bus and local transports like becak and andong. Becak and Andong - a horse-drawn cart - ride are the fun way to explore The Kraton area while experiencing a glimpse of Yogyakarta’s city vibe with its warm-hearted locals.

Singkawang, a small city located in West Kalimantan, is home to thousands of Dayaknese and Chinese descents. Located about 145 km north of the capital city Pontianak, Singkawang or San Khew Jong in Hakka means a town in hills nearby where the sea and the river meets. The majority of its citizens are of Chinese descents, and the culture and tradition here is a mix of Chinese and Dayaknese culture. One of the Chinese rituals that has been assimilated with local culture is called Tatung. The ritual involves subjecting one's body to pain and torture, hence, it is not suitable for the squeamish and little children to watch.

History

The term Tatung derives from Hakka language, referring to a person who is believed to be possessed by gods or supernatural spirits called Lauya. As a result, people believed that all Tatungs have a special ability or power. Sometimes people come to them to ask about their future, fortune, love life, or career.

The Supernatural Tatung Parade in Singkawang

Being a Tatung is not a choice because it runs in their blood or hereditary. Although, in some cases, a person can be a Tatung if possessed by the Lauya.

Once a year, all Tatungs in Singkawang will join a parade on Cap Go Meh day, at the end of the Chinese New Year's festivity. The festive parade is usually held two weeks (15 days) after the Chinese New Year or locally known as Imlek.

Locals believed that the Tatung parade tradition has lasted for more than 250 years. It started when Chinese people came all the way to Borneo/Kalimantan island to mine gold. They started to open an area in a very dense jungle, so they can build a village and mine gold. They also intermarried with the local Dayaknese people. However, a fever came and spread, and they believed it was caused by evil spirits. Therefore, they started to invite good spirits to help them combat the evil spirits by doing rituals and prayers. The fever was gone and they continue to do the rituals until now.

The Tatung parade starts with a ceremony in a monastery led by a spiritual leader or a priest called "pendeta". He will call and invite the Lauya to possess the Tatungs after giving offerings to Tua Pe Kong, the god of prosperity.

The Tatungs then start to perform their pain-defying supernatural ability by stabbing themselves with sharp objects. A mediator will assist them during the performance in order to communicate with the spirits. Later on, they are paraded along the city streets while sitting on a chair of sharp knives and nails. The ritual is conducted to ged rid of evil spirits from Singkawang. This attraction is definitely not for the squeamish and little children will need parental guidance.

All Tatungs will not get hurt if they follow the rules. They are required to have a vegetarian diet every first and 15th day of the Chinese calendar. They are also not allowed to engage in any sexual activities, as well as fasting three days prior to the parade.

In order to know whether they can join the parade or not, a day before the event they will come to a monastery to throw two wooden sticks. If all sticks show the same side, it means they can join the parade. All Tatungs must obey the rule to avoid danger during the performance.

As a sign of tolerance, while on the parade, they must stop the performance before noon in order to respect Muslims who are going to have noon prayer.

Costume and accessories

While doing the performance, The Tatungs are wearing special attires. The costume is a combination of traditional Chinese and Dayaknese attires. The clothes are usually dominated with red, gold and green colors. They also carry sharp objects as their accessories which symbolizes the supernatural ability.

Best time to see them in action

As the parade will only be held once a year on Cap Go Meh day, you need to come to Singkawang about two weeks after Chinese New Year. The Chinese New Year usually falls on February, so the best time to visit Singkawang is around January to March. This year, the parade will be held on March, 2nd.

“On the walls of a steep hill, coffins hang from cracks in the rocky face. Lifelike wooden sculptures or effigies complete with clothes, stand in neat rows in cracks hollowed out in the cliff faces, very much like the windows & balconies of a house. These represent the dead who are buried there.Not far from this hanging grave hides a burial cave many hundreds of years old. This site has attracted and amazed many tourists from all over the world. Be sure Londa is on your list of “Places to visit” this coming year!  If you’ve never been to Londa, you’ll never know the real Toraja!”

From the customs and beliefs of numbers of tribes around the world, we come to learn how their dead are honoured  and  buried in very different ways. It is no secret that the people of Toraja, namely the nobility, bury their dead loved ones & relatives in one of the most unique ways in the world! A series of very costly traditional costumes for burial ceremonies (Rambu Solo) and also  cave tombs high in walls of the hills and cliffs can be seen here at LondaTana Toraja, in the province of South Sulawesi.

Londa’s burial caves are one of the more popular tourist destinations in Toraja.  Londa’s tourist attractions are found in the village of Sandan Uai, in the Sanggalangi District. It is located about 7 km. south of  Rantepao City, the tourism and accommodation centre in Toraja.  Therefore, Londa is easy to get to by public transport such as bemo (mini van), ojek (motorcycle taxis), or rental car.

To get to the tomb caves of Londa, one must descend a number of stairs but just before you do, you will be approached by a member of the local community offering you lanterns for rent. You will need a light to find your way into and around the cave. Aside from renting a lantern, you may also bring your own flashlight to light your way, or ask your tour guide to provide one for you.  Special Londa Tour guides for the tomb caves do not normally have a fixed rate so you may bargain for a good deal.

From a distance the cliff sides appear lush & green with the forest trees. If you are observant, however,  you will notice colourful coffins tucked  into crevices of the cliff walls.  At the foot of this lushgreen cliff lies a cave which is used as a tomb.

As you get closer to the cave you may find yourself enveloped in shades of mysticism while at the same time nature welcomes you with its wild greenery and cool mountain fresh air all about.

On the walls of the cliffs around the cave, rows of wooden statues called Tau-taus can be seen in the chiseled stone cliffs.

Tau-tau is a carved wooden effigy ,very closely resembling the dead body buried there.  Usually jackfruit wood is used for this carving as it tends to yellow with age,to a colour very much like human skin.  Some tau-tau are carefully carved with special attention given to details such as wrinkles on the face, or sagging skin on the neck due to aging.

Close to the rows of Tau-tau, wooden coffins are safely and firmly secured to the cliff walls by wooden beams.  Apparently these hanging tombs are often thought of as another attraction of Londa,TanaToraja. These coffins or caskets (erong) are said to indicate the level of honour or nobility of the person buried there.  The higher the casket or coffin is located on the cliff walls, the higher the degree or status of the bodies buried there.

The Torajans believe that the dead can take their wealth with them into the afterlife. One reason why they bury the coffins in high places is to protect the buried treasure from thieves. They also believe that the higher the coffin lies the shorter the journey is for the deceased to enter into Nirvana.

Before entering the cave, bones may be seen scattered here and there. These bones fell from  a cliff-hanging coffin that broke off at some time because its wooden holds and supports were damaged or rotten with time. The fallen skulls and bones may once again be placed in a new coffin.  However, expensive ceremonies have to be performed once again, similar to when the deceased was buried in its first coffin.

This customary funeral ceremony known as Rambu Solo, is an age-old tradition for deceased noblemen of Toraja. In order to carry out this ceremony, surviving relatives of the deceased sacrifice approximately 24 to 100 buffaloes (forthe nobility) or approximately 8 buffaloes and 50 pigs (for the middle class). It is not unusual for the surviving relatives to take many months or even years to save up for, or gather enough of all that is needed in order to carry out the rituals for a funeral ceremony as Rambu Solo.

While waiting for this ceremony to take place, thecorpse is not considered completely dead yet.  Therefore, the dead body is stored in a traditional vernacular house (tongkonan) and treated as a living person, for example, by giving his or her favorite foods, cigarettes, and more. Other objects are also placed beside the coffin as offerings. Before the corpse is stored it is embalmed to avoid stench and odor.

When you explore the cave you will find more skulls and bones scattered here and there. In some places, the coffins may appear to be arranged in a particular manner. These were appropriately arranged according to lineage or family ancestry. Aside from the coffins, you will also notice clothing or cigarettes deliberately placed there by relatives of the deceased.  Reportedly, some of these bones in the cave are from tens to hundreds of years old.

The natural tomb caves of Londa may be up to 1000m deep.  In exploring the contours of the tomb cave filled with stalagmites and stalactites, one needs to be very careful.  Some parts of the cave are only a metre high so you will have to walk hunched over.

The dark conditions of this cave contribute further to the mystical aura of the tomb cave. However, a journey through the tomb caves of Londa is most certainly an experience that you will not find anywhere else! Be sure that you do not move or even consider taking with you any of the bones, skulls or other artifacts you see lying within the tomb area, as this is one of the ethics which should be adhered to when entering the ancestral tomb area of the people of Toraja.

 

Important point to note when you visit Londa:

- Be sure to request for permission if you are bringing  or carrying  betel nut or flowers with you.
- If parts of a cliff naturally give way & the coffin originally placed there falls off, the spilled skulls, bones & any other objects may not be moved without customary approval and a series of traditional ceremonies of the Toraja.

Ke'te Kesu' is a quaint, traditional village concealed in the mountainous region of TanaToraja, South Sulawesi. It sits amidst a vast expanse of rice fields, and is the oldest village in the Sanggalangi district. The village is over 400 years old, and is said to have not changed at all in the last 400 years. Ke'te Kesu' functions as a sort of living museum, where one can experience first-hand the culture and traditions of the ancient Torajan people. Kete Kesu is probably most recognized for its fascination with death, as shown through their extravagant funeral ceremonies, hanging graves and decorative burial sites. The Ke’te Kesu’ are said to have the most well-preserved megalithic culture and death-celebrating traditions in all of Toraja.

This timeless town is home to about 20 families. It is comprised of eight “Tongkonan”, set in rows facing each other, complete with connected rice barns. The walls of the Tongkonan are adorned with beautiful carvings and buffalo horns, which serve as a mark of the homeowner’s status. A Tongkonan is the traditional house of the Torajan people, distinguished by its oversized boat-shaped roof. The construction of Tongkonan is a laborious task, and usually requires the help of all family members. In the original Toraja Society, only those of noble blood were given the right to build Tongkonan, while the common people lived in smaller, less elaborate houses.

Not far behind the Tongkonan, menhirs rise from the rice fields, marking the way to the eerie hill of Bukit Buntu Ke’su. Bukit Buntu Ke’su is an ancient burial site, estimated at over 700 years old. The rocky hillside is scattered with human skulls and bones, some piled high into large canoe-shaped vessels. The face of the cliff is hollowed with caves, which are ancient crypts. The caves were carved by masters of their skill, and take many months to make.

According to tradition, those of noble status were buried in higher holes, while commoners rested at the foot of the hill. Torajans believe that the higher one is buried, the easier the pathway to Paradise. Haunting, life size tau-tau, which are effigies of the dead, perch high across face of the cliff. Built to resemble the deceased, they stand watch outside each tomb, as symbols of each cave’s “inhabitants.”Some of the tombs are secured with iron bars to prevent the theft of these. Coffins also hang from the walls of the hill, shaped in various forms of dragons, pigs, and buffalo. The wooden crates were engraved with great accuracy and beauty, but are now crumbling with age.

The people of Ke’te Kesu’ are renowned as highly skilled craftsmen. Unique ornaments of bamboo and stone are carved in abstract and geometric patterns, seemingly without the use of mathematical calculations. Many souvenirs can be bought in and around the Ke’te Kesu’ village including coasters, jewellery, wall hangings, tau-tau, and even traditional weapons. Coasters, bracelets and necklaces are sold for a few thousand rupiah, while intricate wall hangings and engraved paintings can be priced at a few million rupiah.

One of the Tongkonan has been converted into a museum, displaying strange, historic objects of ancient customs. Chinese ceramics, sculptures, daggers and machetes, and even a flag, said to be the first flag flown in Toraja. The Museum also conducts bamboo craft workshops for those who would like to try their hand at this skill.

The Garuda Wisnu Kencana Park, simply known as GWK, sited on the Bukit Peninsula, the limestone plateau with beautiful and serene park southern Bali. The cultural park is dedicated to embrace as well as preserve for art, cultural and spiritual aspects of the Island of Bali. Set in 250-ha this park becomes one of the favorite places for art & cultural performances, exhibitions, and conferences. GWK offers a breathtaking view spot for tourist to spend the day enjoying spectacular sunset.

The main icon is the incredible monument of Garuda Wisnu Kencana , the tallest and largest modern statue with 120 meter tall and 64 meter width, conceptualized by Nyoman Nuarta, an Indonesia’s finest modern sculptors. The statue is depict the Hindu God Vishnu riding aloft on his winged mount Garuda. Vishnu is considered a member of the holy trinity of Hinduism along with Shiva and Brahma. He is the most important God of Vaishnaism, the largest Hindu sect. Garuda is a bird creature from Hindu mythology that has a mix of eagle and human features. Garuda Wisnu Kencana statue surrounded by more than 60-ha of Cultural Park.

Both projects are initiated by Garuda Wisnu Kencana Foundation with the vision of becoming the landmark of Bali’s world known tourist destination. GWK is now offering number of facilities ideal for various types of events both local and international.

The commercial complex feed and entertain Garuda Wisnu Kencana's visitors such a highest ground area of Wisnu Plaza , culinary and shopping path of Street Theatre, the main venue Lotus Pond, Traditional Balinese performance at Amphitheatre, Indraloka Garden, Tirta Agung where the sample of Vishnu’s hand is located here, as well as Boutique & Souvenir shops that has completely set. Visitors also can share their memorable moment with Balinese traditional outfit in GWK Photo Studio. GWK can be challenging area to cover. If you don’t have enough time or energy for walking around do take a “Segway” advance two wheel vehicle and try gliding around the area. The scenic restaurant Jendela Bali is open for business and provides authentic Balinese food and daily entertainment while a new additional restaurant, The Beranda, serving an all-you-can-eat buffet with overlooking Jimbaran Bay.

 

Get There

Garuda Wisnu Kencana (GWK) Cultural Park located in Ungasan, Badung Regency or about 10-15 minutes driving from Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport, 25 minutes driving from Kuta. A round trip shuttle bus provides from Denpasar City with cost IDR 3,500 for one trip. A visit to Garuda Wisnu Kencana Park can be arranged with a local tour agency or your hotel. Open daily from 8am to 10pm.

In its heydays in the 16th century, Batavia was known as “The Queen of the East”and “the Jewel of Asia”. Its Sunda Kelapa harbour was abuzz with merchant vessels from Europe, China, India and from throughout the Indonesian archipelago, loading in and sailing away with precious nutmegs, pepper, tea, coffee, ceramics, cloths and other exotic products of the time. The warehouses were stacked with spices, tin and copper. The successful trade in Batavia filled the coffers of the Netherland’s Treasury.

Center of the VOC Dutch East India Company’s administration was the Stadthuis with its wide front plaza, around which were the Court of Justice, banks and other important buildings.

Later the city expanded to the west bank of the Ciliwung river, where the Dutch built a fortress, a city wall and canals, outside which was Chinatown and the homes of the indigenous people.

This entire area, covering 1.3 square kilometers is today called the Old Batavia, present day part of North and West Jakarta.

Before this, in 1526, Prince Fatahillah of Banten invaded the harbour of Sunda Kelapa of the West Javanese kingdom of Pajajaran, On 22 June 1527 he renamed the town Jayakarta meaning victorious city.  Until today, Jakarta bases its founding on this date.

In 1619, however, Dutch Governor Jan Pieterszoon Coen destroyed the town, upon which he built the new town of Batavia – naming it to the ancestors of the Dutch, the Batavieren.

Today many of the original buildings are still intact, The government has designated the Old Batavia as conservation area and plans are afoot to revive the entire neighbourhood into a tourst destination.

Today, the Sunda Kelapa Harbour is an inter-island harbour, where one can mostly find Bugis phinisi schooners at anchor. Nearly are the old warehouses, which are now converted into a Maritime Museum.

This museum houses models of old Dutch ships and the many types of boats used in the archipelago.

Center of the Old Batavia is the former municipal building or Stadthuis, which is now a Museum depicting Jakarta’s long history, called Museum Fatahillah, while the square is called the Fatahillah Square.

The Fatahillah Museum is built in classical baroque architecture consisting of a main building with two wings on its east and west, a complementary building used as an office, a court room, and an underground prison. These frightening prison cells contain heavy iron balls used to shackle prisoners and slaves.

Around the square are the Fine Art and Ceramic Museum, one time Court of Justice, which houses splendid paintings of the romantic maestro Raden Saleh, and expressionist Affandi. There is also a collection of ceramics from many parts of Asia.

There is also the Wayang Museum, the Bank Indonesia and Bank Mandiri Museums, housing artefacts related to the banking world.

In the vicinity are the Sion Protestant Church, built in 1695 and still in use until today, the Pasar Ikan – or Fish market, the Kota Intan Drawbridge – a reminder of canals and bridges in Holland, and the old Jakarta Kota Station, also still operational today.

The Café Batavia has been restored and now offers authentic Dutch cuisine, pastries, coffee and tea, in relaxing retro atmosphere with high ceilings, large windows, ceiling fans and wooden beams.

 

Get There

In Old Batavia, the Fatahillah museum is still a favorite site for culture lovers, photographers, local tourists and international tourists (particularly Dutch and other Europeans) and is open from Tuesday through Sunday, from 09:00-16:00 West Indonesia Time. The museum is closed every Monday and public holidays.Old Batavia is easiest reached via the toll road to Tanjung Priok harbour or the old road via Gunung Sahari past Mangga Dua, but this road is usually congested. Take a taxi or car. Once at the Fatahillah Square there are old-fashioned bikes for rent to cycle around and see the many attractions in this area.

The main Sudirman-Thamrin avenues in Jakarta lead to the Merdeka Square, where in its center stands the National Monument (also known as Monas or Monumen Nasional) which houses the first red-and-white flag flown at the Proclamation of Independence on 17 August 1945. This flag has now become threadbare, and so nowadays on Independence Day ceremonies, the original flag is taken out but only to accompany the replica flag to be flown in front of the Merdeka Palace. The 137 meter tall National Monument is obelisk shaped, and is topped with a 14.5 meter bronze flame coated with 32 kilograms gold leaf.

Within the pedestal is a museum depicting in diorama Indonesia’s fight for Independence as well as the original text of the Proclamation of Independence. A lift takes visitors up to the look-out platform at the base of the flame for a grand view of Jakarta. Surrounding the Monument is now a park with a musical fountain, enjoyed by the Jakarta public on Sundays for sports and recreation. Deer roam among the shady trees in the park.

Merdeka Square is the center of most important government buildings. During Dutch colonial days here was the center of government, known as Koningsplein or the King’s Square. The north side is dominated by the Merdeka Palace once the home of the Dutch Governor Generals, which now also houses the office of the President and the Cabinet. To the South is the office of Indonesia’s Vice President, Jakarta’s Governor and provincial parliament building, as also the American Embassy, while to the West is the National Museum, the Constitutional Court, the Ministry for Culture and Tourism and the Indosat building, Indonesia’s first international telecommunications company.

Today, the town of Cirebon has four palaces, precious heritage of this once powerful Islamic kingdom. They are the Keraton (palace) Kasepuhan, Keraton Kanoman, Keraton Kacirebonan, and Keraton Keprabon. The two former mentioned are the largest, and have throne rooms, whereas, the latter are really royal houses. However, all show a fusion of architectures from their Hindu heritage to Islam, and further infused with distinct Chinese and Dutch influences, creating a unique Cirebon style architecture.

The Kasepuhan Keraton (Palace) is located in the sub-district of Lemahwungkuk in the City of Cirebon, built in 1529 by Prince Mas Mochammad Arifin II. This is therefore, the oldest palace on Java with the longest history. All royal families of Cirebon still live on until today, but all are now, of course, subjects of the Republic of Indonesia.

Standing on a total land area of 10 hectares, the Kasepuhan Keraton is the largest, the most impressive and best kept among the Cirebon palaces, where every niche carries its own historic significance. The inner buildings are all painted white where are found the throne room, living rooms of the royal household and reception areas to meet guests. As is usual with the keratons on Java, the palace stands on the south side facing the large green square where stands the Sang Cipta Rasa Grand mosque at its western side.

Another interesting feature of the palace is the Lawang Sanga building located on its south side, directly on the banks of the Krayan river. This is the tax and customs office during the reign of the Cirebon kingdom. All goods from overseas entering the kingdom must pass the Krayan river where the king’s officials will levy the necessary customs duty. This building, therefore is most significant for the wealth and welfare of the kingdom.

 

Get There

Located on the northern highway that stretches along the entire north coast of Java, popularly known as Pantura-Cirebon is easily accessible by road an by rail from Jakarta or vice versa from Surabaya. From Jakarta you can take a train to Cirebon from Gambir Station in Central Jakarta at Medan Merdeka Timur. To travel around the city of Cirebon best take a taxi or hire a car. There are, however, also small buses called “angkot” that will take you to the many attractions.

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