Skip directly to content

Series EN 017

on Tue, 06/23/2015 - 11:23
Inside the castle of Old Jakarta
The Residence of General Gouvenor of Batavia

Along the canal the boat began to move slowly, entering the famous port of Batavia, a trading center and the center of Huaqiao, the overseas Chinese in Nanyang. The brown rippling river whispered. The left and right of the river were very crowded with porters loading spices and sugar into a boat that docked there. Their feet bare, their skin black burning sun.

Batavia was divided into two, East and West, by Ciliwung River otherwise known as Great River. In the east part of the town was an elite quarter where a castle or fortress located, with roads flanking the canal and a magnificent Dutch church. One of the most famous canals was Tijgergracht where along the road flanking the canal lived rich Dutch people.

From the boat, the castle was so fast emerging as if suddenly arising from the earth that embraced her. Its shape was rectangular with bastions at each end. He looked dashing at land's end, guarded by fifteen cannon ready to shoot when the enemy approached. Meanwhile in the castle there were hundreds of soldiers who always stood in the wall of the fort. A very strong defense against enemy’s attacks from sea and land.

There are two main gates, the first one overlooking the sea in the north and the second facing the shore bounded by a moat around the castle as a continuation of Ciliwung River. The two gates attended by soldiers alternately. The river that surrounds it looked dirty. There was a magnificent bridge over the river, located in front of the gate, separating the fort from the city. Every day VOC officials back and forth walk over the bridge that connects the road towards the town hall. In front of the castle there was a large square for military ceremonies.

VOC employees who have a particularly high rank as the General Governor stayed in the castle guarded by soldiers day and night. General Governor house consists of three magnificent floors with a tower looking to the sea and the shore. In front of the castle was an open space, magnificent, symbol of the VOC. The governor general house is also the office of trading center in Asia, the secretariat and a special room for the Indies council for a meeting. The Indies board members also lived in the castle. Inside there was also a place to stay for trading head of VOC. There were all about a hundred and fifty VOC officials should stay in this castle.

In the splendid castle also included a warehouse for VOC merchandise, piles of food such as rice and potatoes, medicine, and military equipment. These goods they stock from Chinese traders because they were a reliable intermediary traders. All this was necessary because this castle as headquarters of the VOC was the heart of the VOC trading network in Asia. Governor General who stayed in this castle surrounded by security soldiers, lived like a king complete with all the processions and protocol. He received the homage of the kings of Java with ceremony. For completeness of the king's life, in this castle there was also a special church serves all the soldiers inside the fort. The church held services twice on Sunday, morning and afternoon.