The Jakarta Post
Located in the heart of Bandar Lampung, the capital of Lampung province, Sumatra, the leafy, 800-square-meter Dipangga Park may at first glance appear like any other green space where city dwellers can escape the traffic and the sun's scorching heat.
Apart from the shade provided by the trees, the park is populated with a number of elephant and rhinoceros statues.
From a cone-shaped monument located in the center of the park, visitors can learn about the epic eruption of Mount Krakatau in 1883, which claimed the lives of more than 36,000 people.
At a height of 2 meters and 1.5 meters in diameter, the monument was constructed from an iron sea buoy with a red light attached to its top. This buoy is believed to have been swept away by a 30-meter-high tsunami wave in the Sunda Strait and ended up stranded in Teluk Betung, Bandar Lampung.
Built using river stones and marble, the Dipangga Park monument, which is locally known as the Krakatau Monument, is inscribed with a simple graphic of the moment when the volcano erupted.
Other illustrations on the sides of the monument depict the struggle of coastal people, with their belongings in hand, trying to escape the eruption, which rocked the island of Sumatra.
Inaugurated in 1981, the monument attracts people from all across Indonesia as well as foreign tourists who are curious to learn more about the Mt. Krakatau eruption more than a hundred years ago.
However, for most Lampung residents, the park seems to have lost its historic value, as they tend not to reminisce it with the historic past of Lampung province.
Abdul, 41, a Lampung native who works as an ojek (motorbike taxi) driver, often enjoys brief periods of relaxation in the park. He said the park was his favorite place to hang out.
'Despite its rich history, most people visit the park to gather with their friends and families. The park is always crowded with people from around Bandar Lampung, especially during the fasting month [of Ramadhan] while they wait for the breaking of the fast. During holidays, many people also visit the park as they don't have to pay any fees if they want to enter.'
Unfortunately, however, Dipangga Park is not well-maintained by the local administration. An all-too-common sight is the piles of garbage near the park, which has destroyed its pristine beauty. More saddening still is the state of the Krakatau Monument, which is decidedly dilapidated.
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