Kota Tua strong contender in UNESCO heritage nominees list
Dewanti A. Wardhani and Sumnima Dewan
The Jakarta Post
After months of preparation by the city administration and the Jakarta Old Town Revitalization Corporation (JOTRC), North Jakarta's Kota Tua has officially been nominated as Indonesia's representative for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List of significant cultural and natural sites.
Kota Tua has passed the first of many steps required for a site to be selected as a World Heritage Site. Once the site is nominated, a committee will draft a nomination file, which will be submitted to UNESCO for its advisory bodies to review its authenticity and importance.
The advisory bodies then send the applications to the World Heritage Committee for a final review.
JOTRC CEO Lin Che Wei said that the consortium would continue with Kota Tua's revitalization and prepare a proposal that would be submitted to UNESCO later this year.
'We will continue to renovate several buildings in Kota Tua, which is the most difficult task. Restoration of the [Jakarta History] Museum is complete and we are currently working on other buildings such as Kerta Niaga and Cipta Niaga, among others,' Lin said during a press conference at the Galeri Indonesia Kaya in Central Jakarta on Tuesday.
The JOTRC and the city, Lin said, were also working on a 1.2-hectare parking space for private vehicles located on Jl. Cengkeh. He went on to say that the consortium was not limited in terms of funding and that it would continue to do what needed to be done.
'We consult not only with architects, but most importantly with historians in order to maintain the historic value of Kota Tua,' he said.
Lin said that if the old town was in the future deemed unfit to represent Indonesia during the process, Sawah Lunto in West Sumatra would take its place.
Kota Tua surpassed 25 other sites in Indonesia that had previously also been nominated to the country's tentative list, including 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.
On Tuesday, the JOTRC's partner in the Kota Tua revitalization, the Jakarta Endowment for Art and Heritage (Jeforah), opened an exhibition entitled, Art & Toilets: Bringing Back the Glory of the Past.
The exhibition, which takes place at Galeria Fatahillah (on the second floor of the Post Office Building) on Fatahillah Square, will last until May 3 this year.
The assistant governor for Jakarta Culture and Tourism, Sylviana Murni, inaugurated the opening ceremony. The painting exhibition includes the works of maestros like Affandi and S. Sudjojono, as well as more contemporary artists like Heri Dono.
In conjunction with the opening of an art exhibition, there was a launch of new public toilets in the old town and old, existing toilets will be renovated, which aims to address the need for clean and accessible public toilets in Kota Tua. Due to the lack of public toilets, visitors and street vendors are often seen urinating in public areas.
An exhibition was also held to highlight the UNESCO World Heritage Convention's report on historic cities under pressure and the procedures being undertaken to protect them.
Along with the art exhibition, Sylviana also inaugurated Koperasi Pena Waskata, which will look after the money collected daily from local street vendors.
The move is part of Jakarta administration's program to manage street vendors.
'The money we used to pay before, we did not know where the money would go. Now we know it will be used for the community,' said Muhammad Fajar, 38 who sells in the street.
Another vendor, David Penghuni, is not happy with the Kota Tua revitalization process. He said, 'I used to sell clothes before but now the officers do not allow this ['¦] they only want art of Batavia to be sold to the tourists.'
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