Java Central Solo Fort Vastenburg

Written by on May 21, 2012 in Indonesia, West Indonesia Forts with 0 Comments

Java Central Solo Fort Vastenburg

Vastenburg Fort….Hmmm, it was not familiar name for me in the first time I heard during the committee meeting of Solo International Ethnic Music (SIEM) Festival 2007. The head of SIEM mentioned that fort would be used as the venue of the festival. I started to seriously think. “Where was it?” or maybe I had seen before but did not know the name. In 2007, my age was about the beginning of 20s and I never heard it before, my parent and most of my Solonese friends, as well. Honestly, it was very strange. I was so curious and began to do small research. I was surprised when I first time knew the position of Vastenburg Fort. It was directly in the front of my grandfather office, Telkom Solo in Koesmanto Street, in which I often pick my grandfather to his office. However, I could not be blamed why I did not know that fort. I thought it was empty space that looked like more as jungle. It was huge area covered by iron sheeting. Thus, the people who passed it totally could not be aware that actually there was something beautiful inside. I was so lucky to be in front of front of Vastenburg. in front of Vastenburg. the committee of SIEM since I had the opportunity to immediately see inside Vastenburg Fort soon after the committee uncovered the old iron sheeting and cut so much high grasses. I was so amazed and felt like entering different world in my city. The spacious square building with typical colonial style and huge open air arena in the middle. Vastenburg Fort actually can be accessed from four different streets. The main gate is in front of Post Office Solo, in Sudirman Street. In its northern part can be seen from Koesmanto Street, in its southern part from Sunaryo street, and its eastern part (back part) from Mulyadi Street. The position of the fort that can be accessed from four different streets indicated that it is obviously large. It is about 31,532 metre square and it is very near with the main street of Solo, Slamet Riyadi. The position of Vastenburg Fort in the past was very strategic in social and political life in Solo. It can be observed from how closed its position to four main important buildings in Solo that have deep philosophical meaning for Keraton Kasunanan Surakarta. In arranging and setting the city, the kingdom has Vastenburg beauty at night. Vastenburg beauty at night. Vastenburg beauty at night. 4 symbols of philosophy. First is Keraton as the symbol of governance who leads the people, Masjid Agung Surakarta as the symbol of good, prison as the symbol of bad, and Pasar Gede as the symbol of social activity…and Vastenburg Fort was built so closely with those four buildings. The purpose of choosing the position was clear for Dutch Colonialist to control Solo politically and socially with function for protection, too. When you enter the main gate, you will be greeted by some statues. The first statue, I am not sure whether it is cow or buffalo. Then you will also see the typical Javanese statue; Reco Gladag, the twin giant having symbol to protect the main gate. But the shape is very different with common other Reco Gladag that is big in body shape and has scary image. It is small and looks not very strong in image. Moreover, you will see the big two pillars before you pass high iron fence that absolutely will remain you the atmosphere as you see in European movies that use kingdom as setting of place. After you pass the high iron fence, you will see that you are under the Inside the main tower of VastenburgInside the main tower of Vastenburg Inside the main tower of Vastenburg main tower that in the past has the function to supervise and control the condition of Solo. The tower itself is unique. The style looks more “flexible” compared to other parts of the building that is dominantly in square form. Though the tower is actually in square form, but the composition makes the impression that the tower is in rounded shape. It becomes more elegant with its big high windows. During SIEM festival, the tower became the backdrop of the stage poured with the colourful attractive lighting techniques. Even, in the fifth day of SIEM attended by more than 10,000 audiences, the tower was used by one performer who played saxophone. It was really surprising for the people. The middle part of the building is spacious sandy area that in the past was used for military training. I think several football matches can be done in the same time in that area. You can go upstairs to clearly see the other buildings in Solo near the area. You will see Bank Indonesia Solo very clear as you see Pusat Grosir Solo and Beteng Trade Centre. Maybe your vision will be bit bothered by Danamon Bank, the only building which Reco Galadag in Vastenburg. Reco Galadag in Vastenburg. Reco Galadag in Vastenburg. is constructed in Vastenburg Fort area. Simply, it looks strange to see only one modern building in historical zone. The Mayor of Solo, Joko Widodo who has serious concern in preserving cultural heritage cannot do much to beautify or to function it to be more touristy since the fort is owned by private individual. However, he has done several proactive actions including asking the owner to grant the fort back as part of cultural heritage owned by country. People of Solo also have done proactive movement such as musical charity concert having symbolic the meaning the money from the concert will be used for buying back the fort. Since there are many controversies, the condition remains status-quo. There is not any progressive action from the owner to renovate it to be boutique hotel as planned before. Even after it is used for SIEM Festival 2007, the fort is not yet functioned again in any events or purposes. Personally, I expect Vastenburg Fort will be owned back by the country soon. If it happens, I cannot wait the magic will be done to Vastenburg by Joko Widodo like he has created enchanting night market Ngarsopuro; amazing food street Buffalo statue in VastenburgBuffalo statue in Vastenburg Buffalo statue in Vastenburg centre with more than 70 choices of traditional food vendors, Galabo; and attractive fun Slamet Riyadi long city-walk. I wish it can be used openly for public and beneficial more for Solonese people both in image as tourist attraction and good place to socialize. Thus, the beauty will no more hide. Vastenburg cannot wait to “perform”, to show its splendor to anyone who sees it. For those who are interested in cultural spots, it can be your choice to observe when you come to Solo.

Tags: , ,


If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Subscribe via RSS Feed

Leave a Reply