Monday, 18 October 2010

the Syahbandar Tower (1839) Jakarta

Just before the entrance to the Museum Bahari and the Pasar Ikan is the old watchtower. It was built in 1839 to sight and direct traffic to the port. There are good views over the harbour, but opening hours are haphazard - ask for the caretaker if it is closed.

Since the fifth century, ships from China and Vietnam and from all the islands in the archipelago docked at the mouth of the Ciliwung river in Jakarta. Indian and Portuguese traders and Javanese sailors carrying spices from Molucca, (A group of islands of eastern Indonesia between Sulawesi and New Guinea. Discovered in the early 16th century, the islands were settled by the Portuguese but taken in the 17th century by the Dutch, who used them as the basis for their monopoly of the spice trade) also docked there. 

In the following Google Map, you can see Ciliwung River and the Phinisi Boats lined up at the dock .... at the very bottom of this image is the Pasar Ikan [ fish market ] in the area where the orange roof is situated.....

the following image is of the Phinisi Boat or Schooner docked 
at the mouth of the Cilliwung River.
All historical evidence of the beginning of Jakarta points to the area of the Kota, the old city on the banks of Ciliwung river. A bit south of the place currently known as Pasar Ikan or Fish Market. When did Jakarta start its journey throughout history? Nobody knows exactly! 

If you stand on top of Syahbandar Tower (the Lookout Tower) across the bridge over the Kali Besar, you have a view of the oldest area of Jakarta. To the north you can see the present old harbor with its colorful schooners and the Java Sea. The following are images of the tower and from the lookout tower. The tree's certainly hide a lot of what is beyond this area!

 Further along the street from the Museum Bahari is the Pasar Ikan or Fish Market. It's an intense, colourful scene of busy crowds early in the morning when the day's catch is sold. Later in the day it sells household items and a growing collection of souvenirs.

Follow the path that runs alongside the Watchtower and turn left, here you'll find some more old Dutch warehouses. Today they hold the Maritime Museum, or Museum Bahari. Within white washed walls which once represented the city walls of Batavia this museum suffers from lack of investment and intention. 

The (A) marks where the Maritime Museum is and to the right of that, the grey building is the actual tower at the entrance to the Pasar Ikan ....

Syahbandar Tower is located at the side of Jakarta Gulf Beach, next to the Maritime Museum Sunda Kelapa Harbor. The current building of Maritime Museum was previously occupied as VOC’s (Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie) spicy warehouse. VOC was a Dutch company which managed the trading activities on both sea and land for the interest of Nederland. Nederland constructed Syahbandar Tower to guide the traffic of ships that was coming for spicy trading at Sunda Kelapa Harbor. 

Nederland Indies government constructed Syahbandar Tower in 1839 to support the spicy trading and delivery activities from Sunda Kelapa Harbor which was know as Batavia City at that time. The building of Syahbandar Tower had a width of 32 meters (4x8 meters) and height of 12 meters, and the yard was equipped with several cannons which faced to the west and east side.  For the trading administration before the delivery of spicy to countries in Europe, Nederland Indies government constructed another two buildings facing the Syahbandar Tower.

and inside the tower is this very imposing sign:

will upload a blog posting on the visit to the fish market tomorrow




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