Headlines

Old Town targets int’l
recognition via UNESCO
world heritage list

The city administration and the Jakarta Old Town Revitalization Corporation (JOTRC), a consortium of private and state-owned enterprises, aims to include the Old Town (Kota Tua) in West Jakarta on the nomination list of UNESCO’s world heritage sites by March 2015.

“Our plan is to submit the nomination [to UNESCO] in March 2016, but if possible, we hope to achieve an earlier target, which is in March 2015,” JOTRC CEO Lin Che Wei told reporters at the Pos Indonesia building in the Old Town on Tuesday.

He said the road map to the nomination included preparing an administrative document, selecting the historical sites in the Old Town, and setting up the management of the sites.

He said the first step was proposing to the Education and Culture Ministry to include the Old Town on the country’s tentative list.

He believed he had the full support of the central government as Deputy Education Minister Wiendu Nuryanti had told him she would prioritize the nomination of the Old Town if the preparation was well executed.

To be included in the world heritage list, locations must first be oncluded in the country’s tentative list.

According to whc.unesco.org, Indonesia has 26 sites on the tentative list, which was last revised in 2009.

The sites on the list included the Raja Ampat Islands in West Papua, the Tana Toraja traditional settlement in South Sulawesi and Trowulan, which is the former capital of the Majapahit kingdom located in Mojokerto, East Java.

The latest Indonesian site to be recognized by UNESCO was the Cultural Landscape of Bali Province, or the subak system.

Previously, there were seven world heritage sites in the country — the Borobudur temple compound, Komodo National Park, the Prambanan temple compound, Ujung Kulon National Park, Sangiran Early Man Site, Lorentz National Park and the Tropical rainforest heritage of Sumatra.

Lin said the consortium had to work fast and not lose momentum.

He said the consortium would select a number of historical sites from the 342-hectare Old Town.

The city administration will be responsible for improving infrastructure, such as easing traffic in the area.

Buildings that would be included in the selection, he said, should represent six important periods, including the Pajajaran kingdom, the Portuguese period, the Dutch period and the Japanese period, to show a combination of values.

“The biggest challenge is the folklore about the Old Town that has been passed down the generations, without much evidence. We have to be able to differentiate the folklore from the scientific evidence,” Lin said.

Jakarta Tourism Agency deputy head Sylviana Murni said she fully supported the push for recognition and added that she had made it her personal mission to succeed with the bid.

“The administration has a strong desire to make the Old Town a world heritage site. Right now, we still see some unruly street vendors, but we will cooperate with them. We will address the list of problems here one by one,” she told The Jakarta Post.

Grace Debora, a regular visitor, said the Old Town deserved to become a world heritage site only after the museums in the area had improved.

“The Jakarta History Museum definitely has a beautiful look and can become an icon, but many museums are neglected and dusty. We also do not get sufficient information on interesting historical stories in this area,” she said.

In March, the administration and communities held a three-day Fiesta Fatahillah to mark a new chapter in the revitalization effort.

The JOTRC will also renovate 85 old buildings in the area at a cost of millions of dollars.

Currently the JOTRC groups together 11 companies, including Saratoga Capital, the Central Cipta Murdaya Group, PT Jababeka, PT Agung Podomoro Group, PT Agung Sedayu Group, PT Ciputra Surya, PT Intiland, PT Plaza Indonesia Realty, IPC and PT Pos Indonesia.

JOTRC is tasked with developing the area via the renovation of the old buildings, while a cultural group, the Jakarta Endowment for Art and Heritage (Jeforah), will be responsible for cultural activities in the Old Town area.

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