The history of Makassar began with Fort Rotterdam which was turned into the site of government, military and trade after the destruction of Somba Opu Fort. The fort, which is located in the city of Makassar facing the Makassar straits, witnesses the city development since its reconstruction in 1613. The fort was renamed as Rotterdam to give tribute to the hometown of Dutch’s Admiral in charged for the conquest and destruction of Somba Opu Fort.
It was a scorching hot and sweaty experience when I walked into Fort Rotterdam slightly after 10a.m. Despite the weather, I walked from one corner to another corner of Fort Rotterdam. The blue sky contrasted the white painted building with rusty-tawny rooftop.
The Rotterdam fort demonstrate medieval architecture prevalent in medieval Europe. The fort is of irregular-quadrangle shape with the long west-side. As other Dutch colonial settlements in Indonesia, the fortress walls surround the fort.
After it became unbearably hot, I quickly made my way to the La Galigo Museum which exhibits the history, hunting tools, mode of transportations and heritage of most ethnics in Sulawesi. La Galigo is a historical Bugis manuscript with 9,000 pages also the longest manuscript in the world.
Salokoa or the replica of Gowa Kingdom crown is made of silver wrapped in gold in the shape of half bloom lotus. The salokoa alsa has 250 pieces of white and red diamonds covering the throne. The one with the dragon head is known as Ponto Janga. It was worn during the coronation of the king.
The Bugis people call their home as Bola or Ballak in Makassar. They build a home after determining the location, direction of the house, and the philosophy of life or beliefs. The bugis home can be divided into three parts ie rakkeang, ale bola, awasao, Rakkeang is used for storing grain or corn and putting heirlooms meanwhile Ale Bola is used for receiving the guests, eating and kitchen. Awasao is the stage below the floor used for storing agricultural equipment and to keep the pets.
On display is also a miniature replica of the tongkonan, the traditional ancestral house or rumah adat of the Torajan people. The tongkonan has a boat shape and oversized saddleback roof. I really hope I will be able to visit Toraja on my next trip to Sulawesi. There are other traditional houses such as Soaraja and Sao Pitik.
Those are among the treasures and history I managed to keep up with. There are two buildings that house the La Galigo Museum. Due to constraint of time, I was only able to visit the building on the east side.
If you love historical places, Fort Rotterdam and La Galigo museum should be your first destinations in Sulawesi.
For more info on Makassar, please visit Indonesia Travel.
The trip to Fort Rotterdam was made possible by the invitation of Ministry of Tourism Indonesia for Trip of Wonders – Wonderful Indonesia campaign.