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Places to visit: Islands near Makassar - BiraMajene / Pambusuang


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Places of Interest in Makassar



Photo by Makhfudz


Fort Rotterdam
("Benteng Ujung Pandang")




Fort Rotterdam not only contains some interesting buildings, an arts centre and the "La Galigo" museum but also provides a quiet haven away from the noisier parts of town. In the late afternoon and evening you will often find here young people playing music or rehearsing for theatre performances.
The King of Gowa built the fort in 1545. After other forts in the area were destroyed in 1669, Fort Rotterdam was taken over by the Dutch. In 1937 it lost its military function and was handed over to the Fort Rotterdam Foundation for cultural purposes.



Benteng Somba Opu


Sketch of Fort Somba Opu and surroundings - ca. 1665

The ruins of the Makassarese fort Somba Opu are located in the delta of the Jeneberang River, about 7 km south of the centre of Makassar. In 1669 Bugis-Dutch forces destroyed the fort while bringing about the ruin of the powerful Makassar kingdom. During the following centuries a large portion of the bricks were taken away to serve as building material for houses and wells in the area.
On the old picture above the fort is located at the seaside. Nowadays Fort Somba Opu lies nearly two kilometers inland. Sediments from the river Jeneberang probably have caused this situation.


Part of western wall of Fort Somba Opu


Photo by Sybout Porte

Western wall with bastion at end

Little is left of the once all-important fort, though parts of its western wall have been restored, and can be visited. For many people the highlight of the trip is the adjacent open-air museum of traditional houses from South en West Sulawesi. The complex also contains an archaeological museum housing objects found during excavations of the fort and its surroundings.

Photo by Sybout Porte

Open Air Museum Somba Opu - traditional Toraja houses


Photo by Horst Liebner

Open Air Museum Somba Opu - traditional Mandar house


Paotere Harbour


Pinisiq-style cargo boats in Paotere


Paotere is the harbour in the north of Makassar where traditional Buginese sailing boats (pinisiq) load and unload their cargo. It is fascinating to see the boat workers running across narrow wooden planks from the dock to the boats carrying unbelievably large loads.
The pinisiq have been motorised and the number and length of the masts have been reduced, but these boats still make attractive subjects for photography. The boats sail to nearly all parts of Indonesia. Sails are used to reduce fuel consumption and in case of engine problems.

Late afternoon street soccer at Paotere

Besides the long distance sailing 'pinisiq' Paotere is visited by smaller boats that transport cargo to the islands in the Makassar Strait. Some of these smaller boats bring frozen fish from the islands that are sometimes more than 15 hours away. On the way back home they bring ice blocks for preserving the new catch and provisions like rice and fuel.

The entrance fee to Paotere was in July 2009:
1,000.- Rupiah for motorbikes,
2,000.- Rupiah for cars
500.- Rupiah for passengers.

Small fishermen's boats in Paotere


Smaller fishing and cargo boats in Paotere



Below a satellite view of Makassar provided by Google Maps. You can zome and move by using the panel in the top left hand cormer.

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Places to visit: Islands near Makassar - BiraMajene / Pambusuang