Tour of China Town Jakarta

Hey everyone.  I wanted to share with you some information about a tour of China Town I participated in on Chinese New Year.  I want to especially thank my friend Sophia for translating this and sharing it with me.  I hope you enjoy!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA China Town Tour

Jakarta Night Heritage Trails to China Town

Today, 31 January 2014, we will trace back the period of 4 century ago, by following the trails of Old Batavia.

 The tour will start from the used-to-be Stadhuis VOC (Verenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie) or the City Hall, where we will meet at the Stadhuis Plein (Taman Fatahilah). The Groote Kanaal (Kali Besar), Pasar Pagi (Morning Market), Souw Family’s House, Tiong Hoa Howe Kang (now State High School 19), Toa Sai Bio Temple, Maria Santa de Fatima Church, Jin De Juan Temple, Glodok Market, Pancoran, Glodok. The trip will take approximately 3-4 hours.

Stadhuis VOC (Museum Fatahilah)

 We are standing in front of a building that was built 3 century ago, Stadhuis VOC, located at Jalan Fatahillah No. 1 Jakarta Barat. It was built in 1620 by VOC during the governance of Governor General Jan Pieterzon Coen. Stadhuis was renovated in 1707 by Joan Van Horn (as shown on the inscription). In addition to the office of the VOC Governor General for Asia Region, Stadhuis served as the office of Raad Van Justitite (Court of Justice), Rad Van Indie (Indian Council), as jail as well as civil registry. Prince Diponegoro, Untung Soerapati (note: Indonesian Heroes) and the playboy “Oey Tambasya[1]” “enjoyed” the courtesy provided in the underground jail.

 Stadhuis Plein (Taman Fatahilah)

 Stadhuis Plein means City Court is facing to the north or the sea. This court is the silent witness of many executions. People used to gather here when they heard the bell being strike 3 times to see convicts beheaded. In 1628, a niece of the Governor General JP Coen got whipped and her lover beheaded on the terrace of Stadhuis because they were found having an affair. In the middle of the court there is a fountain built in early 20th century. To be used as drinking fountain for people as well as horses. This dome-like fountain is a new building build in 1973. On the north part of the court, we can find Meriam si Jagur (Jagur Canon). During its time, this court spread until it reached to Jalan Cengkeh, presently.

The Groote Kanaal (Kali Besar)

 From Stadhuis Plein we walk and enter Jalan Pintu Besar[2] heading to Kerkstraat (Church Street). This street used to be a cemetery or churchyard of the Church (now Puppet Museum) . The church’s name was Binnen Kerk which means Church within the city.  We will walk to Jalan Kali Besar Timur and arrive at the river bank of the Groote Kanal or Ciliwung.

When the Dutch conquered Jayakarta and changed its name to Batavia, JP Coen built Batavia just like Amsterdam. One of the most important constructions is the canals which serve as water way as well as to prevent flood and fortress.

Groote Kanaal was constructed on the existing river at that time. They straighten the riverbed in 1630th. In late 19th century and early 20th century, Goorte Kanaal was a very busy area with many Dutch ships as many trade companies and warehouses were located at the riverbank. Groote Kanaal was also the silent witness of Chinezen Moord (Chinese Massacre).

Pasar Pagi Asemka

 From Kali Besar we enter the busy area where all sort of things are sold with wholesale price. This is already the part of China Town other than Glodok area. Many typical Chinese houses can be found here. We call it ruko (house shop).

Souw Family’s Residence (Jalan Petekoan, now Jalan Perniagaan)

 From Pasar Pagi we enter Jalan Perniagaan. Jalan Perniagaan is also known as Jalan Petekoan. Petekoan comes from the word pat-te-koan or 8 tea pots. At that time the wife of a Chinese Captain, Gan Djie (1663-1675) who is a very social person, always serves 8 pots containing tea every day for anyone who was thirsty.

Souw Family Residence is located in Jalan Perniagaan. This is a noble family house as can be seen from the roof type which similar to seagull tail, in contrary to commoners’ house that have a saddle-type roof top.

Gedung Tiong Hoa Hwee Koan (SMAN 19)

 Not far from Souw’s house, we can find Senior High School 19 or cap-kau in Mandarin. This is a historical building as Chinese Community Organization (Tiong Hoa Hwee Koan) was established on 17 March 1900. It was also the first Chinese school as during Dutch era, Chinese people were not allowed to get any education. In 1965, THHK including the school was closed by Suharto’s government and the building was taken over and changed it to government school.

Kelenteng Hong San Bio (Toa Se Bio Temple)

 Entering Jalan Kemenangan III, we can find Toa Sai Bio Temple or also known as “Ambassador” temple.

This temple was built by Hokkian people from Tiotha Regency, Hokkian Province. It was for honoring Cheng-goan Cin Kun, a local-known god. In the main altar room, a hio-louw, a place for placing incense, bears the number 1751. This hio-louw is the second oldest object after the prayer table bearing the number 1724 which can be found in Kim Tek Ie temple.

Santa Maria de Fatima church

 The temple like building located near the Toa Se Bio Temple is a church. It used to be the resident of Chinese Lieutenant by the name Tjioe. When Communist took over China (1949) a group of Catholic priests from Jesuit order were forced to leave China. Several of them moved to Jakarta. This building is sold by the owner and purchased by the priests and changed into a church. One of the unique parts of this building is the 2 inscriptions in Chinese character on the roof. It stated the place of origin of the owner i.e. Lam-oa Regency, Coan-ciu District and the other inscription is bok siu khong leng which means prosperity, longevity, health and peace.

Kelenteng Kim Tek Ie (Jin De Juan/Dharma Bakti Temple)

If we continue walking down Jl Kemenangan III we will arrive in Kim Tek Ie  temple which is the oldest temple in Jakarta, built in 1650 by a Chinese lieutenant, Kwee Hoen. It was initially named Koan-im Teng or Koan-Im (goddess of mercy) Pavilion. In 1740, this temple was burnt down during the Chinese Massacre.

This temple is one of the Four Big Temples under the Chinese Council at that time. Those four temples are Oan Kiap Sie (Gunung Sahari) temple, Toa-peh-kong Bio (Ancol) temple, Kim Tek Ie temple and Hian-thian Siang-te Bio temple (no longer exist).

The prayer table dated 1724 was the only remains of the 1740’s massacre and the oldest object found in Jakarta presently. In 1755 Kapitein der Chineezen, Oei Tjhie (1750-1756) named the renovated temple to Kim Tek Ie or Golden Wisdom Temple. Kim Tek Ie underwent w major renovation in 1846 and 1890.

[1] Oey Tambasya is a very rich guy, whose hobby is to ride a horse and peek to houses with chinese girls. He then wed these girls. When he goes to do his number two, people will gather near the river to collect the money used as toilet paper by Oey.

[2] Pintu Besar means Big Door which is the Main Entrance to the Fortress used only by Dutch People. The opposite of the Big Door is Pintu Kecil (Small Door) which at that time, is the door used by non-Dutch to enter or leave the fortress


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