Ikan Bakar Cianjur and Semarang Old Town

I left school children crowd from East Java who enjoying their religious tour in Grand Mosque of Central Java courtyard. Those teenager looked very happy running around courtyard, neatly lined up and taking pictures with the impressive worship site as the background, some even rolled at will in courtyard.

Black Honda Jazz (Jazz is a brand of Honda in Indonesia) picked me up based on online taxi application. After driver confirmed the destination and I said yes, that black hatchback hurtled towards Tanjung Emas.

That place is beautiful. Mr Donny has to go around there!“, driver explained ins and outs of Old Town in detail like a tourist ambassador for Atlas City.

Wow, that’s great, Sir“, I said, hoping to make him proud.

It’s been renovated on a large scale with cost of over USD 11 million, Sir. Perfect for hanging out and hunting for photos“, he continued to explain.

Hatchback which I was riding finally gently stopped in the parking slot.

The trip with cost of USD 0,75 towards here.
Get ready for dinner together.

Didn’t feel long in driving, I arrived. I have to prepare in advance, before all guests arrived. Tonight I will treat all company important colleagues at Ikan Bakar Cianjur Restaurant. Entering the former colonial-era courthouse, a waiter quickly caught my intention by directing me to a seat which was sufficient to accommodate number of guests who were counted.

The restaurant room which followed original function of the building….Many rooms, each room was filled by rows of teak dining tables or teak-framed glass tables. Meanwhile, typical Betawi chairs were neatly lined up, while square windows were soaring to ceiling with trellises which have frame in mini square shape. You could see room decoration in the form of a souvenir cupboard which made from teak wood and rooms were cooled by several large fans.

Order a stool in advance.
Not enough a row, but two rows of table were ordered.

As a result, dinner was finished at the same time as a credit card swipe in value about USD 150. I lightly drew the credit card because everything would be reimbursed to my office.

Saying goodbye, colleagues came back to rest and would continue training on next day. Meanwhile, I still had time to go further around Old Town. It wouldn’t be entirely explored, because 31 acres took all day to explore it.

Thank you Tumenggung Trunojoyo….

Because of your rebellion to Mataram Kingdom, Semarang City became a coastal city which exporting sugar and spices to Europe in the 19th century. Bringing Renaissance architecture to Semarang, vintage, stained glass, unique roof shape, basement, large windows and doors. And I was stepping foot in it …. Now I’m enjoying the Old Town complex under dim moonlight.

I started to enter Letjen Suprapto Street. The appearance of an old church with twin tower and with a large wall clock on each tower and a large red brick dome roof, made this building architecture was similar with a combination of two types of worship place, i.e a mosque and a church. The church which is more than 250 years old was now called Gereja Protestan Indonesia Barat Immanuel. The original name of the church itself was Nederlandsch Indische Kerk.

Blenduk Church, Semarang Old Town Landscape.
Blenduk Church, Semarang Old Town Landscape.

While across street from Blenduk Church, lied Jiwasraya building, which was Letter-L shape, 104 years old, and was splashed with alternating red-green-blue light spectrum. It was ex-Nederlandsch Indische Level Sverzeking De Lifrente Maatschaapij (NILLMI), arguably as the main Dutch insurance business in past time. Also functioned as City Hall during Dutch colonialism era.

A 3-stories building with a dome at its elbows.

Meanwhile, to east of Blenduk church, right at an intersection, lied a Bar and Bistro which have a name of Spiegel. A two-story rectangular building with a door in one corner. This classic building date from the end of 19th century (125 years). In Spanish Colonial style, a former building of Winkel Maatschappij H Spiegel company showed a business struggle of Mr. H. Spiegel who initially only worked as a company manager, then became the owner of company which he led.

The company itself was founded by Mr. Addler.

The last part which I visited was Srigunting Park. A garden with four large trees at each end of the garden and hanging decorative lights along its branches. Making the situation was so romantic for young couples who were in love, or for small families with their children or also for single people who wanted to find their soul mate.

Good place to spend a weekend.

Time to go back to the hotel and rest in preparation for the second day training tomorrow ……


Roman Aura at Grand Mosque of Central Java

Leaving Sam Poo Kong Temple, my gaze ransacked canteen area. Trying to find Mr. Muchlis as soon as possible. I had to bring him to Grand Mosque of Central Java, not only to perform prayer, but also to fulfill religious tourism that afternoon after just finishing around the temple.

I found him in a corner, he looked delicious in smoking a cigarette. Smoking while taking turns with splashing his throat with mango juice….Hahaha.

Come on sir, come with me again!“, I loudly shouted from a distance.

Oh, where are we going?“, He exclaimed, putting out his cigarette fire.

Let’s prayer“, I briefly said as I stepped towards temple exit gate.

Regular taxi which was also online taxi came to pick us. Now I faced with a half-aged driver who was already proud with his human mistakes. He said, he once asked for more fees from a pair of Dutch tourists just because he had a reason that Dutch had colonized his country. Then that two tourists didn’t accept it. The driver stopped the taxi in front of police office, he explained his reason for asking for more fare. Then the policeman explained to that tourists in a more elegant way. Amazingly, That tourists somehow wanted to pay more to the driver….Funny, strange and magical….Hahaha.

Once, he didn’t want to accept a fare change Chinese tourist. He said that he had a pride to not to be pitied….This story was even more miraculous, I wanted to laugh out loud

Never mind…. I was lazy to argue….I hoped that this white taxi ran faster and arrived soon….And finally, this online taxi arrived right at the destination courtyard.

Yup…. Great Mosque of Central Java… Call it as MAJT.

The courtyard was deserted, car park but full of motorbikes, shining lamp in combination with gurgling of fountains along pond in the middle of sidewalk. At the end of courtyard, there was a gate with twenty-five pillars, in roman style, with a typical Middle Eastern calligraphy which was circling on top.…Roman taste was clearly embedded in the courtyard.

Roman aura at the start of my visitation.
How?.…Cool, right ?.

The right side of mosque was dominated by Al Husna Tower as high as 62 meters, embodied in 19 floors. If you want, go up as you like, at above, binoculars are waiting you to enjoying the beauty of Atlas City from altitude, then enjoy a cup of coffee at an 18th floor cafe which can turn in a full circle….Wow.

Al Husna Tower.

While the left side of mosque was acquired by a giant green drum which put under 3 layer roof pavilion. A Gift of students from Al Falah Boarding School in Banyumas for MAJT.

How does that giant drum sound?

Meanwhile, mosque courtyard was decorated with six giant hydraulic umbrellas which liked same umbrella in Al Masjid an Nabawi at Medina. This great mosque looked endless spacious, it was said that its area reached 10 hectares. Making this mosque as pride of Sambirejo people. A beautiful mosque whose dome had a diameter of 20 meters which was combined “Limas Roof” as Javanese typical architecture.

Look at the full shape….Waooww.

Not really caring about the crowds in yard, I hurried towards downstairs, did ablution, then prayed in upstairs. Praying with the accompaniment of an ustadz’s sermon to recitation congregation.

Mosque interior.
Hanging lamp in the middle of mosque room.

I linger a little by following this spiritual sermon. A habit which I always repeated when visiting famous mosques. No needed to worry because my time to treat my colleagues was still later. I could catch up with an online taxi in just 15 minutes.

The giant Qur’an by Mr. Hayatuddin, a calligraphy writer from University of Science and Qur’an, Wonosobo.

After the sermon, I began to leave this 14-year-old building, said goodbye to this Islamic center after a religious tour in it, and praying that MAJT would become a prosperous religious education center.

You needed to know that this mosque has other functions, i.e as a library, auditorium, lodging, marriage ceremony room and museum of Islamic development.