Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
Submitted by mumunmumun on 18 December 2012 • Destination
I’m ashamed to admit I’m ignorant. Early this year, I was heading out to diving heaven Wakatobi, but failed to do any research on Baubau. I thought Baubau was only a gateway. Little did I know, Baubau has a lot to offer. It offered the Keraton Wolio Fort.
Baubau is located on the island of Buton, in between mini archipelagoes and is quite strategic to the mainland. One of its main sites is the Keraton Wolio Fort. Keraton is a term usually heard around the Java Island indicating Kesultanan or royalty. It is no different in Baubau. There used to be a line of royalty here called the Kesultanan Wolio.
Considering Indonesia was colonized for so long by so many countries, it’s no surprise to find forts all over the nation. However, Keraton Wolio fort can distinct itself from the other forts. According to many of the online literature that I’ve read, the fort was meant to protect the kingdom from the Dutch. However, the local guides said, the fort was initially built to protect the area from local pirates. Baubau is a strategic location for transits and traders; therefore it had been a pirates’ primary target. On the walls of the fort, some cannons remain seated but I’m not sure if they existed since the pirate days or during the Dutch invasion. Ooo… it’s exciting to use the word ‘pirates’ a lot. *eye patch on
Having said that, the Dutch couldn’t have established it. Yes, the Keraton Wolio kingdom built this stone fort over 3 ruling sultans. The fifth and last sultan made the grand structure of the fort and took about 13 years to build. It is said, the birth rate at the time was almost zero because the men were too busy making the fort. Men rather lay rocks than lay with their beau? *gasp* This is impressive on a whole other level.
It is also said, the amount of 12 gates, 16 watch posts, and the overall shape were all based by Moslem teaching. There are 12 holes in a human body, 160 days is when fetus gets its ‘soul’, and from above the shape was adjusted to the last Arabic letter of the last Muslim prophet’s name. So it’s not only well thought, its based on religious teaching. Can I get a holy?!!
What’s even more impressive is that according to the World Guiness Book of Records, this fort is the vastest fort in the world. Like, ‘Wow’! The fort itself was made of mountain stones and glued by algae and seaweed. It spreads about 400,000 meter with a 3 kilometer circle and walls of an average 4 meters in height and 2 meters thick. It’s no medieval castle but it’s sturdy and still stands tall.
Our pineapple dance turns out to be larger than we thought. We found a concrete pineapple within the fort which was made recently. The pineapple simbolizes their principle of human realtionships based on justice, integrity, and also simbolizes the relationship between its people and their leader. Oh pineapple!
Inside the fort are remains of the Keraton Wolio kingdom and a few graves of royals. Another icon was the old flag pole dating back to the 16th century which remains erected and covered with moss. Considering it’s 400 years old, that’s some premium wood. Also within the fort was a very old mosque which we failed to enter because there was a local meeting that couldn’t be disturbed. Luckily, we got to see some of the traditional clothes worn by the men in the meeting, which had stripped patterns and were very colorful.
The fort remains to be inhibited by the locals. People still live within the fort in both traditional and modern houses. Some say, most of the people living here are still decendents of the kings, but some also say a lot of new comers stay within the walls. Royaltly or not, probably isn’t as significant as it used to be. Maybe it’s more the merrier now. YAY!
In the end, all I can say is WOW. This country never cease to amaze me of what it can do. Personally, this was another grand finding for me of what Indonesia is all about. With more dedication and less conjugal activities, Indonesian people can make anything. LOL!
This post is due to me winning the Wego Indonesia photography contest (me? photography? I know, right?), but all opinions are my own.
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