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"Poor old Batavia" Old Batavia - Kota Tip by Assenczo

Old Batavia - Kota, Jakarta: 34 reviews and 82 photos

Batavia is the old center of Dutch Jakarta. It is in a rather pitiful state as many of the historic buildings are crumbling in front of your very eyes. The desire to annihilate everything related to the previous master is very thinly veiled by some efforts to spruce up the main square and the adjacent edifices. As a result there are at least three buildings that are worth a visit – the Dutch government headquarters and two other ones that nowadays serve as a museum and a puppet gallery. The government house is the one in best shape with some intricately carved furniture, dungeon and a backyard containing a peculiar Portuguese cannon. Picture taking is forbidden inside but this does not stop the local visitors from shooting as they please and with flash to boot. The cannon has this bizarre fame of helping fertility due to its butt in a form of clenched fist with a thumb sticking out between the second and third finger. I do not know in who’s books this gesture means male reproductive organ but in Bulgaria it is exactly the opposite – representing the female genitals. So sitting on it or not is not going to help much! Kitty corner from the government is the museum of pottery if we are to judge by the contents. Very poor and disappointing collection – does not bode well for the image of Indonesia to Jakarta-on-the-go people whose impressions are to be based on its displays. Entrance is very cheap, alas, deservedly. Across the square there is another old house containing the puppet museum at present. One of its custodians is very aggressive fellow, seeking out tourists to buy his buffalo leather puppets. He was prowling into the government house picking up his “victims”, a bit annoyingly self-appointing himself to be your guide and gradually sucking you into the puppet museum even after hours “to show you around”. During all of this show, where it becomes abundantly clear that he comes from an illustrious puppet making and puppet acting family, the question hovering in the air is: what does he want in return? No worries, at the end he spreads out “his father’s production” than his uncles one and so forth till you buy something to get rid of him. By the way, the stuff is not bad, may be a bit overpriced but purchased at the puppet museum – this provides for some premium inevitably.

Address: Jalan Taman Fatahillah No.1, DKI Jakarta 11110, Indonesia
Directions: East of Kali Krukut in North Jakarta

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  • Written Sep 14, 2011
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