Revealing a Benefactor story at Tjong A Fie Mansion

Sumatra Money Museum and Tjong A Fie’s House are only three blocks away and pass a large intersection which separates Pemuda Street where the museum is located and Jenderal Ahmad Yani Street where the house is located.

Security: “Hey, brother. Why do you capture photos of this building?”, his left hand is on his waist, his right hand hold a T-stick.

Me: “Oh, that’s sir….The building is nice, really classic“, bent down as a sorry.

Security: “Oh yeah, that’s great … I didn’t realize it“. Saying while standing on my right side led to the same building.

Me: “Sure, Sir….You who has worked here for a long time, just realized that” while holding a laugh in my chest.

I thought he will take my camera and erased the picture in it…. Apparently no, hahaha.


That house gate is so small and I had a little bit passed it. I turned and slowly walked toward it.

My bad habit: silence for a long time in the courtyard and even didn’t blink.

Young staffs who on duty at ticket desk were watching me from terrace. They were glad to get a guest. Some time later, I realized that they were waiting me.

Staff: “Sir, you can keep your backpack here. The house is spacious, you will be tired“.

Me: “Thank you honey Ms, I put it here….Is it safe?”.

Staff: “I’ll take care, Sir….You don’t need to worry”.

Me: “Take care of my heart too….Thanks Ms”.

OK….Let’s start to entering Tjong A Fie Mansion.

A multicultural figure from Guangdong.

Do you know about Tjong A Fie?….He is a Chinese descent resident who in his life became a rich trader and became an important figure in Medan because of his generosity in building Medan city in his era. He worked hand in hand with Sultan Makmun Al Rasyid Perkasa Alamsyah to develop city economy. At that time, Deli was famous worldwide with its high-quality tobacco, and even Deli was dubbed as Dollar Landsh (Dollar Land).

The beauty of his 120-year-old house is truly eye-catching. Has four guest rooms with different concepts to receive guests from different communities.

The yellow dominant living room is for receiving guests from Deli Sultanate as Malay community.
Chinese descent guests are welcome here.
This room is to receive guests from Dutch government.

I was fortunate to meet two visitors from Aceh who used a tour guide services. Seeing me when visiting it alone, Mr. Syaiful smiled and waved to me and then invited me to join with them. “Come on, brother, come here!“, he lightly said. How lucky is my fate.

Tjong A Fie was so rich, many of his home furnishings were imported from Europe such as safes, ceramic decorations or ovens in his kitchen.

The dining table was ever used to entertain Deli Sultanate family in Chinese New Year celebration.

Next exploration showed photos of the entire Tjong A Fie family, which consist from 21 family members. The photo was taken during his 60th birthday celebration in early 20th century.

A bed made from classic carving woods with white mosquito nets.

An orange kitchen wall with three wood-burning stoves next to a separate room with two flour stone-grinders and one rolling pin with similar material.

A hall which contains a row of family history photos.

In other side, I found a Tjong A Fie family tree, some photos of important buildings in the city which were built with his funds (such as Gang Bengkok Old Mosque, Sipirok Old Mosque and even Al Mashun Grand Mosque in downtown), as well as a photo of Kesawan Bank Commissioner which was founded by Tjong A Fie.

A high windows with a dominant number make the house so spacious.

Tour guide said that during President Soeharto era, the state acquired Tjong A Fie’s plantation and merged into state’s plantation ownership i.e PT. Perkebunan Nusantara (PTPN).

End of my visitation in Tjong A Fie Mansion. His house gate is seen from 2nd floor.

See the Tjong A Fie Mansion situation here:

Eight Facets in Al Mashun Grand Mosque Architecture

That green mosque with dominant white was clearly visible from Maimun Palace gate. It’s a 111 years old mosque which is be a memory of Deli Sultanate greatness. According to story, Sultan wanted to build a mosque more beautiful than the palace where he lived as a service for religion. So the palace and mosque are an architectural package which were planned by Sultan Deli which you must visit when you are in Medan.

Impatient steps made me sweaty panting and my back was increasingly achy because burdened by a backpack which even I have carried for 4 hours since leave Kualanamu International Airport.

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight….Oh, eight facets“, I murmured in heart when I got around outside of the oldest mosque in Medan. The main dome with dark color is surrounded by three twin domes. A unique form and rarely found in any mosque.

Sultan Ma’mun Al Rasyid Perkasa Alam needed for 3 years for finishing the building.

Dhuhr azan reprimanded me for immediately turning off the camera and purifying myself with wudu (ablution) in a separate building at east of mosque.

Wudu (ablution) place.

After put my shoes, I walked on a rubber track into mosque’s worship room. I was looking around and admiring mosque’s interior which is very charming.

Able to accommodate 1,500 worshipers at a time.

Eight buffer pillars are coated by marble which was imported from Itali by the architect – Mr. Tingdeman -. Combined with the elegance of a chandelier from France which its form like a reverse birthday cake. Then walls on every sides consist of doors with Spanish arch style and are completed with large stained glass from China. Then islamic nuances of Taj Mahal are represented on wall motifs and pulpit (minbar) carvings….AMAZING.

Al Mashun Grand Mosque dome are black from outside.

After Dhuhr prayer, I watched an Aussie tour group who visited the mosque using hijab which were provided by the mosque. They looked fascinated when entering mosque’s door.

Some mosque worshipers were seen heading to tombs on west side and made a pilgrimage to Sultan tombs. Al Mashun Grand Mosque looked solemn inside and outside.

Do you know the meaning of word “Al Mashun”…. “maintained” is the meaning of its name.

Pedestrian bridge which its shape is influenced by mosque architecture.

I tried to approach Sisingamangaraja street to enjoy the mosque from a distance. Its beauty increasingly become when I observed it from pedestrian bridge

Madani Hotel is in across of the mosque. See!. It have a dome too….Beautiful.

See Al Mashun Grand Mosque situation here:

That was my adventure in Medan’s second destination….Come with me again to another good destination !.

Golden Yellow of Maimun Palace

Call his name as Yunus, a young man with a Malay face with his confidence patting my shoulder from behind. My focus to snapping the palace image from the best position finally faded.

Yunus: “Can you take photo of me, brother?”

Me: “Oh, okay. Don’t stand there…. stand in the middle! “, I directed his position like a professional photographer.

He just came from Pangkalan Brandan to try his fortune in Medan after passing a vocational school with its majoring in Automotive Engineering. He want to work in automotive workshop. He was so fascinated by my appearance so he guessed me as a reporter with a camera which he thought expensive. Even though……Hahaha

Take my photo, boy!“, I said. “Oh okay, smile, smile“, Yusuf managed…. Snap…. Am I similar to a reporter?

Our small talk was resolved when my steps were leading to a separate building at left of the palace. I looked inside, there was a cannon with a broken end. That is the “Buntung/Puntung” Cannon. Amazing, that cannon piece fell as far as 75 km at south of the palace because of cannon’s heat which was continuously fired.

It is said that this cannon was the incarnation of Putri Hijau (Green Princess) when Deli Sultanate was attacked by a king from Aceh who was angry because his marriage proposal was rejected.

“Dee Eerste Steen Van Dit Gebouw

Is Celeco Op Den

26 Augustus 1888

Door Z. H. Den Sultan Van Deli

Mahmoed El Rasjid Perkasa Alamsja

I read with lips curve which is similar to dutch accent at the base of front pillar just before climbing the white gray stairs.

Fixing my backpack in preparation for whole palace exploration then was continued with buying an entrance ticket for USD 3.7 at the top of stairs. Then my steps began to tread palace floor.

King and Queen chairs.

Yellow color palace door which are so numerous, adopt an European style which is combined with green dominant shutters and arches at the top with Indian Mughal architecture, were the first scene which I remember.

Great wedding altar in golden yellow.

Then “the yellow and the green” are combined with “the red” as a signify that this palace clearly belongs to whole Malay nation. Yellow represents wisdom, green represents Islam and red represents tradition colors.

Lamp ornaments above the height of palace ceiling.

So many faces of Deli Sultanate family are introduced to public through classic photographs which are neatly arranged and tightly attached to wooden walls of the palace.

As a result, I was stunned by the beautiful face of Yang Mulia Raja Noorsida who is wife of Seripaduka Sultan Osman Al Sani Perkasa Alam.

Photo of Sultan Deli who rules today: Seripaduka Baginda Tuanku Sultan Mahmud Arya Lamanjiji Perkasa Alam Shah.

In some corners, I diligently watched several weapons which are left by Sultan, such as Bentara Kris (Keris Bentara), Tumbok Dagger (Tumbok Lada), Cenderahati Kris (Keris Cenderahati). Also some musical instruments, jewelry, ceramic plates and Sultan’s clothes.

Deli Sultanate spears.

More noon, more visitors enlivened the whole palace. Many people were willing to queue for wearing Malay traditional clothes and pose in king and queen’s chairs. Students didn’t hesitate to sit on palace floor and listening to teacher’s explanation which loudly tell some stories until his jugular veins appeared.

Malay traditional clothes rental.

My visitation to Maimun Palace really left a deep impression because this was the first time I visited a palace on Sumatra island.

See you again, the magnificent and modest palace.

See the Maimun Palace situation here:

Come on….See next creations of Deli Sultanate !…. Al Mashun Grand mosque. It’s not far …

10 Tourist Attractions in Medan

I’ve never given brain a slightest chance to think long. Riding a motorcycle taxi, I sayid “sayonara” to Amplas Terminal which seems unwilling to be left behind by visitor who are willing to take time to know about it.

15 minutes later, I already alighted at Medan’s main destination. They are:

1. Maimun Palace

The palace whose name means “blessing” has served for nearly 130 years in representing a greatness of Deli Sultanate. This palace was constructed as a sign of kingdom’s capital shifting from Labuhan to Medan.

Yellow is a distinctive Malay color that symbolizes wisdom.

Redeem an entrance ticket worth USD 0.37, I explored every corner of the palace and continued to admire every detail of the fusion of Indian, Middle Eastern and European architecture. Five hectares of palace area makes anyone freely enjoy beauty of the palace from various points of view.

Next destination is only 2 minutes by walking, which is:

2. Al Mashun Grand Mosque

Located in west of palace, this octagonal sacred building majestically stands in passing time. This fenomenal creation by Sultan Ma’mun Al Rasyid Perkasa Alam implies that he prioritizes grandeur of the mosque rather than the palace where he lives.

Its marble was directly imported from Italy.

Right on Dzuhur prayer time, I took time to mingle with local people to taste the coolness of this 110 years old mosque. The grandeur of mosque is a marker of prosperity of Deli Sultanate in its time.

Don’t leave an area around the palace and mosque because there is still one more place which is believed to be a relic of Deli Sultanate, namely:

3. Sri Deli Park

Stepping for about 100 meters to north of mosque, I was arriving in the park. To absorbed its historical value, I tried to imagine being a Sultan’s son who was relaxing in afternoon then taking a bath in the trapezoid pool which is located in the middle of park.

Park which can reduce city’s heat.

This park was as a closing exploration to remember the glory of Malay under the leadership of Sri Paduka Tuanku Sultan (the title of Sultan Deli).

4. Tirtanadi Water Tower

Continuing to walk to north, within 800 meters I found a giant water tank which is owned by PDAM (stands for Perusahaan Daerah Air Minum) Tirtanadi in North Sumatra Province. This giant water tank has long been a tourist landmark for the city.

Don’t look at its old face but look at its role.

Who would think that this red and white water tank was made by Netherlands Colonialism at beginning of 20th century. According to the meaning of its Sanskrit name, Tirtanadi has a vital role in supplying clean water needs of townspeople since it was first built until now.

Do you know the meaning of “Tirtanadi” word?….Yups, Tirta means water and Nadi means life.

5. Museum Uang Sumatera (Money Museum of Sumatra)

Let’s take more step!….

About 300 meters at west of Tirtanadi Water Tower, I found a various forms of money collection from several eras in a museum which its establishment was initiated by a money collector named Saparudin Barus.

Even money from Deli Sultanate era was still well preserved.

This museum doesn’t have an entrance ticket. It’s just that museum will give souvenirs in the form of 2 old coins with a hole in the middle and is valued for about USD 0.74.

6. Tjong A Fie Mansion

This time, I stopped at another important destination in Medan. This is a house which is owned by rich trader of Chinese descent who had a major role in city development. This benefactor is Tjong A Fie. And the remain aside from his greatness name is her house where he lives.

Every room in Tjong A Fie’s house has a special function that fascinates me.

I was willing to pay an entrance ticket for USD 2.6. But that value paid off once I understood about its story that explaining each side of the house and traced Tjong A Fie’s career in growing his business and build Medan.

7. Madras Village

There was no authentic reason which I could explain why I had to visit Madras Village. One simple reason, it was a domino effect because I stayed at Dazhong Backpacker Hostel in the center of Madras Village.

Mingling with Indian descent citizens.

Madras is taken from the name of an area in South India which is the ancestors origin of Indian Tamil descent residents.

8. Waroenk Nenek

After meeting up with my friend in city, the darkness persuaded me to return to hotel. But the hunger that was unstoppable, made me to looking for dinner before I actually arrived at hotel.

Bonus destination.

Then I arrived at a restaurant with its slogan “Semua Ada” at Patimura Street. One portion of fried catfish with sambal which was served by beautiful waitress in hijab became the most beautiful gift that night.

9. Merdeka Walk

Fresh after dinner made me canceling to back to hotel. I was adding to one destination again by visiting the city’s culinary and entertainment center which is usualli called eMWe.

Drizzle started to fall when I arrived.

Created in 2005 and able to accommodate 700 visitors at one time making this place as a favorite destination when weekend arrives. Especially for young people who want to relax after working hard all week.

10. Medan Hall.

It’s still one area with Merdeka Walk which occupies at one side of Merdeka Square. This hall will be the center of Medan square in the future after revitalization which is being designed by city government.

At 21:00 hours, the hall still had visitors.

Availability of parks around the hall makes this place very crowded with activities variety from just gathering with family, sports or activities of several young communities.

That was a quick visit in Medan that made me want to back there again.