Home120,000 hectares of Kerinci Seblat National Park destroyed Kuto Besak Fortress : Overlooking the Musi of Palembang
Standing atop the 10 meters high and 288.75 meters long thick walls of Kuto Besak Fortress, one looks down on the passing boats and ships on the Musi River
below. Built during the 17th century, Kuto Besak Fort is a legacy of
the Palembang Darussalam Sultanate, that ruled from 1550-1823. Acting as
a defense post, the location of the Fortress is both politically and
geographically strategic as it forms and island on its own, bordered by
on its south by the Musi River, the Sekanak River on its west, the
Kapuran River on its north, and the Tengkuruk River on its east.
to history, the building of the Kuto Besak Fortress was initiated by
Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin I, who reigned from 1724 to 1758. The
construction started in 1780 during the era of Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin.
The fort was meant as a palace, which was built to replace the old Keraton Kuto Lamo or Benteng Kuto Lamo which did not look sufficiently grand. Today, the Benteng Kuto Lamo is used as the Museum Sultan Mahmud Badarudin II
It took 17 years before Kuto Besak Fortress was finally used officially
as the Sultanate’s governmental center from February 21st 1797.
Besak Fortress is a reflection of the multi- ethnic society of the era
of the Palembang Darussalam Sultanate. Supervision of its construction
was entrusted to a Chinese supervisor, while laborers were both native
Palembang and Chinese who worked hand in hand in harmony. This is also
one of the legacies that is passed down to this day as illustrated in
many of the city’s special events such as at the Cap Go Meh and Imlek
(Chinese New Year) Celebrations.
Each corner of the fort is
strengthened with bastions. The Bastion in the west corner is larger
and similar to other forts in Indonesia while the other three bastions
are achitecturally unique, and are unlikely found elsewhere. The main
gate, called lawang kuto, is located in the south facing the Musi River, while the other gates, called lawang borotan are located in the west and the east, although the west gate is today the only one that is still standing.
tells us that in 1821 the fort was invaded by the Dutch colonial army.
The Kuto Besak Fortress was taken and the reigning Sultan Mahmud
Badaruddin II exiled to Maluku. This marks the end of the Palembang
Sultanate era. The Dutch occupation left its marks on the fort as it
carved its colonial style on Kuto Besak Fortress.
Kuto Besak Fortress is, unfortunately, closed to the public since it is
used as a military base. However, the Fortress remains an attraction .
As the sun sets in the afternoon, lights glow around the fort, creating
sparkles that highlight the walls of the fort. As one of the historical
landmarks, a trip to Palembang will not be complete without a visit to
Kuto Besak Fortress.
Getting there is far from complicated. Take a taxi or find public transportation, an angkot, which passes by the fort. Buses also pass this historic complex, and so does the blue Trans Musi.