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6 Historical Sites in Banten to Dig Into the Deeper History of Indonesia

by Vina Krisna Yanti
Kaibon Palace as one of the historical sites in Banten

Not only famous for its beautiful natural attractions, such as marine tourism activities in Banten, and beaches to explore in Banten, Banten also preserves many historical sites that you can visit to dig into the deeper history of Indonesia.

Banten has majestic historical background from the sultanate period to the colonialism. the Sultanate of Banten reached its glorious peak during the reign of Sultan Ageng Tirtayasa when the international trade emerged and made Banten as its center.

Even during the collonial eras, Banten was used as an important area where the construction of Trans Java Highway to Penarukan, East java was done. No wonder, Banten has plenty of historical sites, including the ones from the sultanate era and the others from the collonial era.

To give you further information, here is a list of 6 historical sites in Banten that you can visit to dig into the deeper history of Indonesia.

1. Juang 45 Building

Juang 45 Building

Juang 45 Building, locally known as Gedung Juang 45, is located at Alon Alun Road, Serang, Banten. During the Japanese occupation, Juang 45 Building was used as the basis for Kenpetai, Japanese military police arm of the Imperial Japanese Army.

When Japanese occupation was over, the building was then transformed as the basis for Badan Keamanan Rakyat or People’s Security Agency, Indonesian government agency established to maintain the security of Indonesia.

It was gained back by Indonesia through a battle on October 10, 1945 done by brave Indonesian young men who fought the Japanese police arm and successfully took over the building.

Considering the historical value of he building, it was renovated in 2020 in order to be opened as a historical library and museum.

2. Banten Grand Mosque

Banten Grand Mosque

Situated in Kasemen, Serang, Banten, Banten Grand Mosque is a historic mosque that stands as a remainder of the glorious port of Banten that was used as the center for international trade. The mosque still functions as the place for moslims to pray.

It was constructed during the reign of Sultan Maulana Yusuf, the third Sultan of Banten Sultanate who governed the Sultanate around 1552-1570 using Javanese style. It went through several adds and renovations during other Sultans reigns and during the Dutch occupation.

There is a high tower situated near the mosque and you are allowed to enter it when you visit this mosque. On the top of the tower, you will see a great scenery of Banten port and beautiful scenery of the ocean.

There is a tomb complex on the left and the right sides of the mosque for the Sultan of Banten. On the left side lied Maulana Hasanuddin with her queen, Sultan Ageng Tirtayasa, and Sultan Abu Nashr Abdul Kahhar.

While on the right side lied Sultan Maulana Muhammad, Sultan Zainul Abidin, Sultan Abdul Fattah, Prince Aria, Sultan Mukhyi, Sultan Abdul Mufakhir, Sultan Zainul Arifin, Sultan Zainul Asikin, and Sultan Syarifuddin.

3. Speelwijk Fortress

Speelwijk Fortress

Speelwijk Fortress sits in Kasemen, Serang, Banten, pretty close to Banten Grand Mosque that can be accessed in 6 minutes drive or only 11 minutes walking. It’s one of the historical sites that remains from the colonial era.

It can be said that Speelwijk Fortress is the witness of the struggle of Indonesian who fought over their independence.

Speelwijk Fortress was built by Hendrick Loocasz Cardeel in 1681-1684 to anticipate the attacks of Bantenese. Back on its days, the fortress was 3 meters high and it was named Speelwijk to honor the Dutch East Indies Governor who was in power.

Now, some parts of the fortress still have some standing red brick walls while the others only have the remaining red brick walls that have flattened to the ground.

There is a 10 meter wide moat surrounding the fortress with surveillance tower in every corner. However, there is only one remaining tower that can be used.

Visiting Speelwijk Fortress will give you a clear picture of how the colonialism was back then. So, if you want to know more, make sure to pay a visit to this place!

4. Surosowan Palace

Surosowan Palace

Located in the same area with Banten Grand Mosque and Speelwijk Fortress, Surosowan palace is situated in Kasemen, Serang, Banten.

It sits in an area of 3 hectares and was built in around 1552-1526 during the reign of Maulana Hasanudin who was later known as the founder of the Sultanate of Banten.

It was used as the residence for the ruling sultan. It is said that the improvement on some parts of the palace involved the design suggested by Hendrik Lucasz Cardeel, the one who built Speelwijk Fortress. But, it was destroyed by the Dutch during the reign of Sultan Ageng Tirtayasa.

The wall of the palace was about 2 meters high and it resembled the sturdy Dutch fortress, this might the reason why it is said that some parts of the palace got influenced by the Dutch architect.

There were three entrances to the Surosowan Palace which located on the north, east, and south sides of the palace.

5. Kaibon Palace

Kaibon Palace

Kaibon Palace is still located in the same area as Banten Grand Mosque, Speelwijk Fortress, and Surosowan palace. Based on the historical report, kaibon palace was used as the residence of Queen Aisyah, the mother of Sultan Syaifuddin.

It is now a ruined palace even though some parts still remain visible. The ruined of the palace was caused by attack of the Dutch during the battle with the Sultanate of Banten in 1832 in accordance to the order of Daendels.

The destruction order was given since unlike other sultanates, the Sultanate of Banten never seemed to bow to the Dutch.

Even though most of the palace were ruined, you can still come and learn the history of the Sultanate of Banten as well as the colonialism era. From observing the area of the palace and its remaining ruins, you can see how big and powerful the Sultanate of Banten was back then.

6. Pecinan Tinggi Mosque

Pecinan Tinggi Mosque

Pecinan Tinggi Mosque is located in Kramatwatu, Serang, Banten. It is srill quite close to both Banten Grand Mosque and Speelwijk Fortress. It was built by Sultan Syarif Hidayatulah which was then continued by Sultan Maulana Hasanudin. There are many theories of the origin of this mosque.

Some said that the mosque was built since during the Islamization era, there were many Chinese traders who traded and lived in the area.

Then, it is said that the mosque was then used as a mosque for the Chinese traders who were moslems, including the wife of Sultan Syarif Hidayatulah who was originally from China.

Other theories state that the mosque was built as the only mosque in Old Banten as a way to spread Islam and at the same time as a place for the for residents around the mosque, including the Chinese traders who were moslems, to pray.

After Banten Grand Mosque was established, and was used for the time, Pecinan Tinggi Mosque was then abandoned and forgotten to the point that the condition was no longer maintained.

Now, you can only see some parts of the mosque that are still standing while the others are mostly ruins.

Regardless of its appearance, visiting Pecinan Tinggi Mosque is worth it since you can learn much about the history of Banten as well as the history of Indonesia.

Plus, since the mosque is located closely to the other historical sites, your visit to Banten will give you a complete historical tour!

For more information about the history of Banten and Indonesia, you can try visiting museums in Banten. For further adventure in Banten, then you can try visiting Baduy Tribe. But always remember to follow the etiquettes when visiting Baduy Tribe and the tips while vissiting Baduy Tribe.

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