It’s been forever since I visited my own blog, but with my recent addiction to soap operas, it seemed like there was no time to spend on more ‘intelligent’ stuff.
I did go out and explore a fair bit in the interim – one of the highlights being a study tour to an ancient Chinese neighbourhood in the bustling suburb of Tanggerang. Apparently this was the first Chinese settlement in the archipelago, in 1407, a cool century before any European explorers ventured in these parts. The initial settlers came under the leadership of admiral Zheng Ho from China, but they worked largely as labour, and are among the poorest Chinese communities of Indonesia. Later, the Dutch built a fort in this area to protect themselves from attacks from Banten, and gave the area the name Benteng (fort).
Like any typical Chinese settlement, this one boasts of a busy market, and a bustling Chinese temple. There are some old traditional buildings, a couple of kecap manis or kecap benteng factories, an ancient mosque and other interesting sights to walk past. The focal point of the area is the Benteng Heritage Museum. This is the brainchild of a third generation Chinese descendent, who bought an ancient Chinese-style house and lovingly restored it in its original style. It now contains artefacts from Chinese heritage; there’s a beautiful relief on the first floor opening that depicts a Chinese story from the 17th century.
Love these gems from my Forts, Ports and Palaces group!