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Jakarta Post

The Banda Islands: From tragedy to tranquil tourist attraction

  • Bill Dalton

    Contributor

Jakarta   /   Tue, April 17 2018   /  01:06 am

Gunung Api volcanoThe quiet, peaceful region of Banda Neira Island in Maluku province, home to around 9,000 people, faces a narrow strait and the conical-shaped, menacing Gunung Api volcano. The buildings lining its flower-filled streets comprise some fine examples of gracious, old colonial architecture, many now crumbling under the pitiless tropical sun. On a plateau above Banda Neira is the pentagonal-shaped Fort Belgica. Built in the 1620s, this massive fortress has survived numerous earthquakes, yet is in fairly good condition. Climb up to one of the towers for a sweeping view of Banda Neira, the sleepy harbor, nutmeg groves and looming volcano that erupted as recently as 1988. There are a lot of things to see in Banda Neira for those looking to step back into the past, when the Dutch colonialized Indonesia.One of the area’s main attractions is the hauntingly empty governor’s...