Mencari Jejak Sejarah

Kota Lama   Semarang

History always be with the journey of a nation, despite the fact that a mere fraction of us understand the history of their nation.

Not without reason "History" is being taught since elementary school. As said by Bung Karno, "JASMERAH, jangan sekali-kali melupakan sejarah (do not ever forget history),"

children need to learn from history. Learn to understand, not memorize it.

Photo by: Ade Hady

This is a special edition of our Travelearning event as it involved the daddies too! In order to welcome the upcoming Indonesian Mother's Day, we would like to gave the opportunities for mothers to have a "me-time" while strengthening the father-children bond. The children teamed up with their father to explore Kota Lama Semarang and trace its history directly at the main place.

*Psst... Eventhough it was a one-day event, there were participants who came from outside Semarang city! Some of them are from Salatiga, Jakarta and Surabaya. We do respect and appreciate the parents who put an earnest effort for their children.

We started the day at Srigunting Park, which was formerly known as Parades Plein since the Dutch-Indies Army often held a parade on this park.

Each team was given a number of old photos of historical buildings in Kota Lama as well as the information and the history behind them. They were supposed to locate the buildings using the map and the compass given, then take a picture that compares between the past and the present of the buildings and collect the current information of it.

Instead of just answering questions, here Travelearners enhanced their intellectual curiosity by asking as many questions as possible. They might write it on the cards, which then be discussed in the last session.

Photo by: Rasyid R.

The hidden pieces
The hidden pieces

Game session with Kak Yogi
Game session with Kak Yogi

Brief explanation about the surrounding buildings and the game instruction by Kak Yogi.

Singing "Gambang Semarang" a la Tawang Station.

The hidden pieces
The hidden pieces

Another mission is to find the puzzle pieces that, when arranged, depict a famous landmark of Kota Lama. Can you guess what building is it?

Some of these pieces of puzzle were hidden in the historical buildings while the others can be obtained through games that were guided by our facilitators.

"Westminster Chimes" a la Semarang Tawang Railway Station.

Westminster Chimes is a melody used by a set of clock bells to chime on each quarter-hour. One of the most famous clock that uses it is Big Ben.

In Indonesia, train stations play this sound as a sign of train departure and arrival.

Nevertheless, Tawang Station in Semarang is different. Here plays a chime of a traditional kroncong song called "Gambang Semarang"

After having lunch, we had a discussion with Kak Yogi (Founder of Lopen Historical Community), Kak Gatot (Co-Founder of Jazz Ngisoringin and Impala Co-working Space) and Kak Umam (UNDIP Lecturer of Literature) about the history of Semarang, especially its "Little Netherland".

The development of Semarang begins after VOC (Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie) took over the city at the end of the seventeenth century. It was given to VOC by Amangkurat II as a reciprocity of helping Mataram to quell the Trunojoyo insurgency. They built a pentagonal fortress called Vijhoek. This fort was built as military centre and Dutch settlement.

Photo by: Kang Yana

As the Dutch population expanded, Kota Lama grew more crowded and Vijfhoek fort was then refurbished to be a bigger fort to cover the whole area. The fortification of the settlement, on the eastern bank of the Semarang river, was considerably larger. The remaining east and west bastions of fort de Vijfhoek were incorporated in the newly city wall.

In 1824, the fort was demolished because it is considered unsuitable with the rapid development of the city. In order to commemorate the existence of the fort that surrounds the Kota Lama, the streets there are named as

  • Noorderwalstaat (Northern Wall Street - Now Merak Street)

  • Oosterwalstraat (Eastern Wall Street - Now Cendrawasih Street)

  • Zuiderwalstraat (Southern Wall Street - Now Kepodang Street)

  • Westerwallstraat (Western Wall Street - Now Mpu Tantular Street)

*FYI: The position of the streets in Kota Lama has not changed from the Dutch era until today.

This district is well-known as "Little Netherlands" since the buildings here are typical to European architectural style which surrounded by canals. Thus, it feels and looks like a town in the Netherlands.