Sunday, December 2, 2012

Uitkijk, the watchtower of Semarang Harbor

De Uitkijk te Semarang or the harbormaster tower of Semarang, as its seen on 1870 (source: geheugenvannederland.nl)

Uitkijk (eng: look-out), that’s what the dutch called for this habourmaster tower building. Talking about Uitkijk, so its cant be separated from the Vijfhoek(eng: pentagon), a fort that built in the site that Uitkijk is erected. The Fort itself was built on the site of a simple earthen wall, built by Adriaan Speelman on 1677. Its built as the respond to the convention between VOC and Amangkurat I, the Sultan of Mataram, as the return for the VOC services to assist him suppressed the rebellion of Trunajaya, which really frustrated Amangkurat I because of this rebellion gained a lot of support among the regent and religious leader over Java Island because of Amangkurat dictatorship rules. In the convention its mentioned that VOC gained control over the north coast of Java Island, thus they need a this fort to protect their interest in Semarang.  

The ruins of Uitkijk on 2007
According to the article in Suara Merdeka newspaper, its built on 1825, the Uitkijk has a role to control the activity on the small harbor situated on Kali Semarang, which a lot of merchant loading and unloading their goods to supply the needs of the people of Semarang. And the Vijfhoek itself has largely demolished on 1741, except two bastions on the west and north, which were included in the new city wall.

Visiting this site todays, it will be difficult because of there’s no suitable parking area, and its turned become slum area. One’s of the old person said that it has been functioned as the warehouse to kept the coal in before the reformation 1998. Then during the reformation, the people surround it looted this, they take the windows, doors, floors, stairs who were made from the finest teak woods. Then yap, the result is like what we saw nowadays, no frame, no door, no stairs, only ruins and garbage precisely.

The remain of Vijfhoek itself is still unvisible right now, but on 2009, some archeologist doing the excavation on the site near uitkijk and found the foundation of the vijfhoek wall. Constrained with the permission of the land owner (which is one’s of the state company) and the sea intrusion phenomenon called “rob” which made this excavation become harder, its stoped, and still there’s no continuity related to this excavation anymore. The excavation site are filled with the rob water, made it look like a cesspit, yuck, disgusting!

The article on Kompas daily which explained about the excavation of Vijfhoek on 2009

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