Fort Rotterdam was one of the most historical places I got to visit in Makassar. It is an authentic site in Makassar’s history, a milestone of the Dutch’s colonization throughout the era.
It is located near the Losari beach. In fact back then before the nowadays development, the fort was actually very near to the sea. Boats could even attach their ropes to the fort. One of the most interesting part of this fort, is when you take a look from above, the arrangement of the building – the architectural plan – looks like sea turtle! Today, it is used as a museum about Southern Sulawesi. Let’s take a look!
This is the entrance of the area. If you pay attention to the stones, you can see that the stone are still original. It survived hundreds of years, I’m impressed!
This is the pastor’s house and the picture beneath is is what used to be a church. There’s also a hospital. Houses of the generals, houses to keep food and spices, a house to keep prison (Pangeran Diponegoro was held as a prisoner there, he is regarded as one of Indonesia’s national hero). Literally it’s a community.
This is a way to get to the upper side, we have to get through a sort of tunnel which was very low for the head. As I asked the question to the guide, he said that the tunnel was intended for rolling the canons to the upper side, that’s why the ceiling was built so low.
Let’s get to the museum! They preserve a lot of information about Southern Sulawesi’s history, culture and of course about the fort itself.
This is an original scripture about La Galigo (a Southern Sulawesi character) in an ancient language and writing. It is so ancient that there is no one in the world who can read it (according to the guide). The content consist of stories and guidance about life. It’s like a bible to people back then I guess. There is also another script which is older and it is kept in a museum in Leiden – Netherlands. I’d like to see it one day.
This is a replica of the queen’s crown. It’s beautifully carved, amazing detail and it looks very heavy LOL. Makes me wonder what kind of technology they used back then to produce such original piece!
This is the traditional woven textile of Southern Sulawesi. From left to right. Makassar, Toraja and Bugis. The Toraja one has put their traditional house as a pattern.
This is the traditional wedding ceremony decoration where they put the newly-weds as queen and king of the day. In front of it they lay food and cover it with the hat like red cups. It’s not actually a cup, it’s made from textile. The food is brought by the groom as one of the gift for the bride. Looks like a lot of dishes huh! Mostly it’s snacks. On the sides you can see textiles, and those are the traditional textile that the groom wears at the wedding. Very typical Indonesian weddings. The more the merrier!
Out of the museum, there is also an artist! His name is Zainal Beta and he is a clay painter and has been doing it since the 70’s. What is a clay painter? Well, literally he paints with clay! You should see his work, even I’m amazed. He can paint in just 2 minutes! As I take a look from one painting to the other, he has put different colors of paint (I mean clay). I asked him how that’s possible. He said that each clay from each region has their own color. So he has to hunt clay from different places to get different colors for his work. His work is also published at the Losari beach art exhibition place. Look at the self portrait of him and yep it’s made from clay! Because I loved it so much, I got myself one of his amazing work!
As I was walking with the guide, we came across this English club! Apparently, there is a place in Fort Rotterdam that is occasionally used for learning English. I got the chance to talk a little with the teacher and the students. I had a blast! They are very smart! About the teacher, or I’d say ‘Your Majesty’! I feel so fortunate to have the opportunity to meet one of the last descendent of Gowa and Makassar’s royal! He is the grandson of the last Gowa’s King and the grandson of the last Makassar’s king! Not just 1 but 2 or even 3 crowns if I’m not mistaken. He told me his real name. Probably because he is a royal descendant his name is incredibly long, I can’t even recall it. It has I think 10-20 names. I was like stunned but then he said ‘Just call me Daeng Lala’. That’s a relieve LOL! He is an English teacher and he can do a New Castle (I think) accent and he also owns a certificate for it.
As a ¼ Bugis (my Datuk (grandpa) is a Bugis) I find it fascinating to learn about the heritage that I partly came from! And I am so happy to be able to come to this part of Indonesia. Learnt the history, met the king, what a day! I had a blast! To close the day I got to try the original Makassar’s dish: Fish!