Saturday, August 17, 2019

Getting to Know the 3 Foreign Cultural Heritages in Jakarta

Spectr News Theme Victoria Tunggono
07, January 2016

Before becoming what it is today, Jakarta, or used to be known with the name of Batavia, was an international harbor which located on the trading road. So, many foreign traders or colonials came and went into this city that has a nickname of The Big Durian. Because of that, Jakarta has 3 foreign cultural heritages that still can be seen until now. What are those cultural heritages? Check it out!

1. Arabic and Indian Cultures
These cultures bequeath two mosques that was built on the 18th and 19th century in the Old Batavia area. Those mosques are An-Nawier Mosque and Langgar Tinggi Mosque in Pekojan. The name of Pekojan itself was taken from the name of an area in India, which is “Khoja” or “Kaja”. Now, this area is better known with the name of Kampung Arab (Arabian Kampong) located in West Jakarta because this area is dominated with Arabian people living in this area. Before that, this area was dominated by Moslem Indian people from Bengal. The An-Nawier Mosque was the biggest and the oldest mosque in Old Batavia. This L-shaped mosque can accommodate up to 2.000 people. There are 33 pillars that supported the roof of this mosque, which symbolize the number of Zikr (devotional acts in Islam) that usually done after every prayer.

Then, to get to Langgar Tinggi Mosque, you will pass a bridge that is called Jembatan Kambing (goat bridge) on Angke River. It is called as that because this bridge was used to connect the way to a goat slaughterhouse. Right now, there are still Arabian people that have goats and resell it. The Langgar Tinggi Mosque is located by the river of Angke. It is named Langgar Tinggi because at that time, a two-story mosque was a rare building. The architecture style of this mosque is a mixture between moroislam and colonial so you can see the elements of Chinese, Javanese, and European.

2. Chinese Culture
China and Indonesia has a close relationship since the first century BC. Even numerous princess of China married to a king in several regions in Indonesia. In Batavia era, the Netherlands needed the Chinese community. But, those communities could only live outside the city border and behind the city wall. That area is now known as Jakarta’s Chinatown, which is Glodok. Numbers of Chinese heritage buildings can still be seen until now, one of them is Toko Merah. Besides Toko Merah, there is also Petak Sembilan area where you can find shops that sell candies, Chinese medications, also knick-knacks and Chinese restaurants. This area becomes very lively during Chinese New Year with the lanterns and the Barongsai dance.

3. European Colonial Culture
The first European people that stepped into the Java Island was the Portuguese. The Portuguese was looking for the legendary spices in Indonesia. Even though they didn’t dominate the whole island, but there are some heritages in Jakarta which are 2 Portuguese churches and the keroncong music. The two churches are Portuguese Tugu Church and Sion Church. The Portuguese Tugu Church was built for the slaves that worked for Portuguese at that time. Even though the building is quite humble, but now people still celebrate Christmas accompanied by the keroncong music and some dances.

Meanwhile, the Sion Church is one of the Portuguese’s heritages that also the oldest church in Jakarta. The next Portuguese’s heritage is the keroncong music, which was introduced by the sailors and the slaves from the trade ship in the 16th century. Keroncong had an acculturation process in Jakarta with a touch of flute and gamelan orchestra.

Victoria Tunggono
Victoria Tunggono