Dutch Colonial Palembang SightSeeing (Palembang City Tour)
‘Dutch Colonial Palembang Sight Seeing’
I hope you are ready for our today’s tour, All of the colonial buildings we will visit are located in downtown Palembang, in other words, former Dutch Colonial Palembang proper, and are positioned relatively close to one another. The simple grid pattern of the city’s layout makes it easy to find ones way around. That’s why the best way to explore Colonial Palembang is by bicycle or scooter (recommended) not by foot or car. Another reason for bicycling instead of using a car is that the permanent traffic jams and a chronic lack of parking space in this area make the car is more curse than the blessing. We cannot and need not see all colonial buildings for this would be much too much for one day and this article. The tour I have planned for today includes 3 major buildings that bear testimony to Palembang’s present days Palembang’s glorious colonial past. All of them belong to the most precious jewels of Dutch Colonial Palembang’s treasure trove. And, please, if you want to do yourself a favor make plenty of photos of them because it will definitely be the last time that you have the chance to see the buildings as they are.
In the not so far future, there will a yet unknown number of them be completely disappeared, totally run down or ‘restored’ in a way that leaves nothing of their partly still existing, leave alone former, colonial charm. We will, of course, see a lot of other parts still beautiful old colonial buildings that have interesting stories to tell but have to keep a focus on those I have selected for our tour; we will otherwise be too much distracted and not get ready today.
OK, the starting point of our walk through Dutch Colonial Palembang will be the former Palembang General Residence, Museum Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II. From there we continue to the Ampera Bridge, located in the direct neighborhood of the Water station, then to the former Plumbing Office Building, and so on. When we arrive at the buildings I will give you some related basic information. There is, of course, an awful lot more to say about the buildings and their history but this article does not provide enough space for all these details.
Palembang is a city on Sumatra Island that is divided into two by the Musi River, the Ulu side and the Ilir side. This geographical situation has made water transportation system a part of the people’s daily life. Along both banks of the Musi river, there used to be moored raft dwellings, called Rakit, some of which served as shops. The houses along the banks stand facing the water and are built on stilts. Because of its orientation towards the river, the city has an elongated profile along both sides and does not stretch far inland.
This Venice of the East located an on important trade artery between India and China since ancient times has determined the character of Palembang as a port city. Now the two sides of the city are connected by one big bridge, AMPERA, which is short for Amanat Penderitaan Rakyat.
Visiting Palembang means that you can pamper yourself with the delicious fishcake Pempek, as you can find this kind of food everywhere, from street vendors to fancy restaurants. You can also see what remains from the glorious Sri Wijaya Kingdom in Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II Museum located on the side of the Musi River.
Near the Museum, you can see a building called Benteng Kuto Besak, which used to be the residence of the Palembang Darussalam kings in the 18th century. From the Museum area, continue your walking trip to Mesjid Agung. An architectural proof of the acculturation of Chinese, native Palembang and modern cultures in a harmonious way. Built in 1738, this greatest mosque in Indonesia of that time has continually been rebuilt and renovated. The last renovation in the year 2000 has given the touch of the 21th-century style to this unique mosque.
One thing that you shouldn’t miss when visiting Palembang is seeing people weaving Songket, the traditional Palembang’s sarong. Take a bicycle ride to Jl. Ki Gede Ing Suro, on the way, you can see several Palembang’s traditional houses, limas houses, with their unique roof shape.
To those of you who are not familiar with waterway transportation, a Musi Tour is possibly the most exciting tourist attraction in Palembang, the capital of South Sumatra Province, Indonesia. Musi River is one of the major rivers in Indonesia and the longest river in the Island of Sumatra. It divides Palembang, the capital of South Sumatra Province, into the Upper (Ulu) Area and Lower (Ilir) Area of Palembang. On this river stretches one of the longest bridges in Indonesia, Ampera Bridge, which connects the Upper Area and the Lower Area of Palembang.
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