In front of Batik museum just few meters to the end of the road,
you will find a small monument on your right side that look like
a mail post with a sign ‘Mylpaal’.
It is a mark of the central axis of Java island.
Mylpaal means ‘0 Km’, it was built as the start of Daendels road,
which is pantura track 1.100 km length initiated by H.W. Daendels
in 1808. [Pantura = Pantai Utara = North coast]
This time we went to Pekalongan to see the city of batik. We’re driving from Jakarta on a beautiful sunny day.
We stopped for lunch at Cirebon at a small humble food stand to try Nasi Jamblang bu Kesi. Jamblang rice is a typical food of Cirebon, West Java. ‘Jamblang’ comes from the name of a region in Cirebon, home of the food vendors. Characteristic of nasi jamblang is serves on a teak leave before the plate. The dishes is serve like a buffet. After having a delicious lunch, we continued the journey.
Arrived in Pekalongan, we went directly to the hotel, so we could had some rest. If you love antique buildings then you will love traveling in Java, where you could find a colonial houses or building easily. And Pekalongan is one of them.
We chose The Sidji hotel, just because it is an antique house that got restored and turned into a very lovely hotel.
We drove around to alun-alun just to see where to have dinner, we saw this huge signage about lamb rice, a middle-eastern food. We follow the address and led us to the Arab quarter not far from alun-alun. The restaurant is also an antique house that serves delicious food.
Pekalongan is one city that produce batik beside Yogyakarta, Surakarta and other places in Indonesia. Because of its colorful and motifs, batik from Pekalongan is very recognizable. In Dec 1st, 2014, city of Pekalongan was inscribed as a UNESCO World’s Creative City for craft and folk art category. You can find batik workshop or shops in several areas such as: Kampung batik Kauman, Kampung batik Pesindon, Pasar Sentono, and you will find batik clothes in more fine design in boutiques in Arab quarter.
I just love this particular boutique in Arab quarter, just because they preserves the origin architecture.
Near alun-alun there is Batik museum that gives so much information about batik and the philosophy behind every motif. The museum is a Dutch heritage building which has stood since 1906. This Art Deco building was changing function from time to time, from an administration office of a sugar factory until city hall, and finally at present time as Batik Museum.
Divided into 3 display rooms, the first room explain batik motifs and its philosophy in the life cycle of human, from birth to death.
Here are some batik motifs in our life cycle with philosophy behind it :
In one of two other display rooms, you can find batik of Eliza van Zuylen. A Dutch, and one of batik maestro who lived in 1863 – 1947. Her design mostly were flower bouquet or well known as buketan (how Indonesian pronounce it).
Here are some pictures of peaceful and serene Pekalongan..
There is an old lemonade soda drink factory by the name ‘Oriental Cap Nyonya’ near alun-alun that was started in 1910-ish and still operating until this day. Even they weren’t as popular as in 1970s, but you can see that they still producing.
The factory is just located behind the Pekalongan jail that also still got the original architecture in one angle.
I must say, Pekalongan is a very nice, laid-back city, where you can enjoy the slow pace and the colonial architecture. Especially a place that has character in their culture, adds its own charm. -SK-
When we’re planning to visit Jeddah, I knew I had to put Balad in my itinerary. This Historical site is full of old houses with Ottoman and Andalusian architecture design. Balad, which literally means “The City”, is the historic center of the city of Jeddah. Al Balad was founded in the 7th century. It was established as a major port for Indian Ocean trade routes, distributing goods to Mecca.
Balad was in fact encircled by a wall that was meant to protect the city from Portuguese invaders who wanted to control navigation of the Red Sea. In 1947, the wall was destroyed and today only some gates of it remain, with small part of the wall attached. The gates are: Bab Makkah, Bab Sharif, Bab Al Bent, Bab Magharbah, Bab Sebbah, and Bab Jadeed. These gates were used to link Jeddah to the outside world. Bab Makkah was the gate for the muslim who wants to take their pilgrimage to Mecca. The gate in this picture is Bab Sharif.
The architecture of the old houses reflect the rich life of Jeddawis, who were mostly merchants. The intricate wood art on their window were carved skillfully by Indian and Javanese. Besides its function to block the sunshine, they were also designed to catch the wind for providing good ventilation throughout the house, a necessities for comfort during the hottest part of the summer. Furthermore, the wood was carved in such a way that it was easy to look outside while remaining hidden from public view.
The windows with part that just out over the street is actually balconies, the rawashin (singular: roshan), was used as an extension of the room and was filled with comfortable cushions where people could sit on the path of the evening breeze. The ones with beautiful designs were called mushrabiyah and the ones with more simple and practical grills used as windows are called shish.
Lots of lattices (wind catcher) on the houses
The houses were built in a tall structure. This was intended to have an extra comfort when people enjoy the evening breeze while relaxing on the roof top and to produce shades, which is much appreciated by the people walking on the streets during hot days.
Pictures below are some beautiful houses with intricate rawashin which could use some tender-loving-care to be preserved. Some are well-maintained.
Bayt Nasif or Nasif’s house is the most popular and the oldest building in this historical site, right in the middle of the souq. This ancient mansion has been renovated and considered as a symbol of Jeddah’s rich past. It was built in 1872 by the owner, Omar Nasif Efendi, a wealthy merchant and governor of Jeddah by then. This house belong to the Nasif family until 1975. Then it turned into a library and eventually became a museum.
Two pictures below are the souq (market) but because it's Friday morning the activity will not begin until after As 'ar pray time, that is around 3 pm.
Below are more pictures of old buildings with beautiful architecture that made Balad so enchanting. It's almost like in a fairy tale. -SK-
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