Can we protect our Kota Tua?

27 02 2009

Once upon a time, in the 1640s, a city was built in the Dutch East Indies, one of the newest territories of the Dutch Empire. It was called Batavia, a name which derived from the hometown of the DEI Governor-General Jan Pieterszoon Coen, De Bataven. Then, he built a lot of buildings, from the Casteel up to the Stadhuis, which is known now as Museum Fatahillah, still lies up till now.

In the year 2009, buildings of this age are begin to deteriorate. Their old age, added with lack of good care, contributes even bigger damage to these beautiful heritage. The Stadhuis, which once became a place of capital punishment, is sprayed by irresponsible people; contributing to its damage. Trash spreads everywhere. Paints are fading away. Damn these old buildings, they haven’t got the best care for them!

Can we realize how important the heritage is for our Nation? Can we start something realistic to protect our Kota Tua? We have damaged it too much, and I think it is time to start protecting this precious treasure.

A little information

The Kawasan Kota Tua (the Old City) is consisted of several buildings, mainly the Museum Sejarah Jakarta (Jakarta History Museum, publicly known as Museum Fatahillah), Museum Wayang (Puppet Museum, formerly the Nieuw Hollandschekerk or the New Holland Church), Museum Seni Rupa dan Keramik (Museum of Fine Arts and Ceramics, formerly the Office of the Raad van Justitie), the Cafe Batavia, the Kali Besar (Great River and its vicinity), the Stasiun Beos (or Stasiun Jakarta Kota), Museum Bank Mandiri, Museum Bank Indonesia (formerly the Headquarters for De Javasche Bank), and numerous buildings around.

Though every buildings in this vicinity are famous and has almost the same historical value, perhaps the most famous of them is the Museum Sejarah Jakarta. The Museum Sejarah Jakarta, or formerly called Stadhuis (the City Hall), was built for several times, and reached its present form in 1740. If I not mistaken, it reached its present form under the Governor General Abraham von Riebeck.

Since, the Stadhuis had became a center of many things in the Dutch East Indies (the colony of the Netherlands in present-day Indonesia, from 1599 to 1942); from marriage, making papers on births and deaths, trials for criminals and private laws, imprisonment, and of course, the most notorious, death sentences. Death sentences were held in front of the Stadhuis, and many people gathered there to watch. Death sentences were most notorious: from beheading with a sword (the sword is still being held in the Stadhuis, second floor); or quartering (a person was tied with four horses, and those horses were whipped to 4 different directions, so that the body of the subject would be torn apart, eeewww!!). A lot of things happened in this building, later I’ll tell you a more detailed story.

That’s the Kota Tua. Hopefully more and more people will realize how important this treasure of us to be protected.


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