Posts Tagged With: central java

Old train-station threatened by flood


Most of train stations in Indonesia were built during the colonial era. Mainly in a period started at the end of the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century. Some main stations in some big cities in Java were built elegantly, while others in the small cities and towns were just simple buildings.

One of the so called main station in a big city is Tawang Train Station in Semarang, Central Java. The station is considered as one of the biggest and also the oldest railway station in Java, which is still be used up till now. It is true that the building underwent many major renovations, especially renovations to save the building from the flooded sea-water which becomes the major threat to the old building. The facade of the building, as well as the interior, however, is still preserved as it was. It still shows the original construction of a typically building that been built by European architect to be used in the tropic. The ceiling is quite high to ensure the flow of the air, solid walls decorated with big glass windows to add light into the interior of the building, and a dome shaped roof.

The building was built in 1911 by NIS (Nederlandsch Indische Spoorweg maatshappij), and it was ready to be used three years later. It is said that Sloth-Blauwboer, the architect who designed the elegant building of Tawang Train Station, was ordered the top quality materials directly from the Nederland. His efforts shows us the quality of the building. It still standing elegantly after more than a century. Hopefully the flood problems will be solved soon and Tawang Train Station can stands for another century.


Keterangan :

Seperti kita ketahui, hampir semua stasion kereta api di Indonesia, khususnya di Pulau Jawa, di bangun pada jaman penjajahan Belanda. Rata-rata bangunan itu didirikan pada masa sekitar akhir abad ke XIX sampai dengan awal abad ke XX. Salah satu stasion peningalan jaman itu yang masih terawat dan dipergunakan sampai sekarang adalah Stasion Kereta Api Tawang di Semarang.

Stasion kereta api ini merupakan salah satu stasion kereta api terbesar pada jamannya. NIS (Nederlandsch Indische Spoorweg maatshappij) sebagai pemilik mulai membangunnnya pada tahun 1911, dan selesai serta siap dipergunakan tiga tahun kemudian. Konon arsitek yang merancang gedung ini, yaitu Sloth-Blauwboer, memesan material dengan mutu terbaik untuk pembangunan gedung stasion ini langsung dari Negeri Belanda. Memang sih usahanya itu tidak sia-sia mengingat hasilnya adalah sebuah gedung berkualitas prima yang sampai sekarang masih berdiri kokoh.

Gedung stasion ini sudah beberapa kali direnovasi, baik untuk mempercantik tampilannya, maupun untuk melawan ancaman serius berupa banjir, baik yang disebabkan oleh derasnya hujan ataupun yang disebabkan oleh naiknya permukaan air laut yang dikenal dengan istilah “rob”. Meskipun demikian, berbagai renovasi tersebut tidak mengubah tampilan asli gedung yang menunjukkan banyak ciri bangunan hasil rancangan arsitek Eropa yang dipergunakan di negara tropis; misal saja langit-langit yang tinggi untuk menjamin kelancaran sirkulasi udara sehingga udara di dalam gedung tidak terasa pengap, dan banyaknya jendela kaca besar sehingga memberikan penerangan alami di dalam gedung.

Mari kita berharap, mudah-mudahan saja masalah banjir yang selalu menjadi ancaman serius bagi Stasion Kereta Api Tawang ini bisa segera diatasi, sehingga orang masih bisa menikmati keindahan bangunan ini di abad mendatang.

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A corner of Semarang at dawn

Semarang is the largest city in Central Java Province, Indonesia. It is also the capital of the province. The city is located at the north coast of Java; hence it is also called the Port of Java for tourism purposes. It is said that the name Semarang derived from the Javanese word “asem” and “arang. “Asem” can be translated literally as tamarind and “arang” as rare or uncommon. Perhaps it was a place that only had a few tamarind trees back then  🙂

The below pictures were taken at Jalan Pandanaran, one of the main streets in Semarang. At the background, there is an open lawn or square which is used as the public central activity premise known as the Simpang Lima lawn. The area’s name shows that from there people can go to five different directions.

In the pictures, you can see a tall structure that looks like a lighthouse. The tall structure is actually the minaret of Baiturrahman Grand Mosque located in Simpang Lima. The mosque is one of Semarang’s many landmarks. Travelers can ask for a permission to go up to the top of the minaret, and enjoy the bird-eye view of Semarang panorama from up there.

Jalan Pandanaran, as one of the five streets that are crossing the Simpang Lima, is approximately 1.5 kilometres long. It is connecting Simpang Lima Area and the Tugu Muda area. Along the street, there are offices, hotels, restaurants and stores. Among all there are many stores that sell Semarang’s traditional food such as bandeng presto (pressure-cooked milkfish), lunpia Semarang (Semarang style spring rolls), and wingko babad (flame grilled sweet cake made of coconut and flour).

Aside of delicious traditional foods, Semarang also offers many interesting places to visit. So . . . anybody interested in visiting Semarang?   😎


breaking dawn 1 ( 5:11 AM )


breaking dawn 2 ( 5:28 AM )


breaking dawn 3 ( 5:51 AM )

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A mosque with a temple-like minaret

Kudus is a small town in Central Java Province, Indonesia, and is located around two hours drive to the east from Semarang. It is said that the town’s name was derived from Al Quds (Jerusalem’s Arabic name). Nowadays, Kudus is known for its kretek clove cigarettes.

The most known landmark of the city is an old mosque called Al-Manar Mosque or Masjid Menara (literally translated as the Tower Mosque) which was built in 1549. The mosque is also considered as one of the oldest mosques throughout Indonesia. It was built by Sunan Kudus, one of the Nine Islamic Holy Men of ancient Java known as “Wali Songo”, whose mausoleum which lies close to the mosque, is still an object of pilgrimage up till now.

the al-manar mosque with its minaret

the al-manar mosque with its minaret

The mosque is known as Masjid Menara (the Tower Mosque), because of its unique minaret. While the mosque itself is a Mogul-style building with its rounded dome and concrete pillars, the minaret is clearly not a common Islamic architecture. It is looked like a Hindu temple, instead. In my opinion, the minaret has a big resemblance to some ancient Hindu-Javanese structures from the Majapahit era of East Java (13th – 15th century). The minaret was made of red terracotta bricks, as also the wall that surrounded the mosque’s compound. At some places along the wall, there are several gateways at the form of “candi bentar” (a split temple like gate), which is also a typical gate of the Hindu Majapahit era palace complex.

From the appearance, it is clear that this is really a kind of acculturation of Hindu and Islam, which is a typical style of Islam spreading in Java at the era of Wali Songo. At that time, the Wali Songo spread their teachings of Islam without any violence, and still accepting the old values which had been grown among the local community long before that. That was why Islam can be accepted easily by the locals.

Even-though Menara Kudus is intended to be the mosque’s minaret, it was not intended to be used by a muezzin; instead it was used to place a big skin drum (“bedug“) which was used to summon people to pray. The drum was placed under a pavilion like shelter at the top of the minaret. On some spots, there are Ming’s style porcelain plates attached to the wall of the minaret for decoration purposes. The porcelain plates bear middle-east style pictures on them. Unfortunately many have been missing  😦

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