I was told that we will be going to a 15th century Somba Opu Fortress of which I missed checking this out; no reading nor research was done. But the word ‘fort’ excites me, plus the fact that am going on a ride and sightseeing with Makassar’s travel bloggers add the cherry on top (with cream and all). Somba Opu; the name sounded very Polynesian, ethnic-ish, and very exotic. I started to imagine all sort if things. Everything. Getting there, we have to cross a river and later turn into a waterpark, hemm…. Waterpark next to a fort? Well… well… Guess what, that’s where we parked our car. I soon realized (as we walk towards the entrance), this might be a living museum – too my delight.
Back during its golden days, the Gowa Sultanate decided to erect this beautiful complex as a country defense fortress from the Dutch and Portuguese colonialism attack, social meeting points and a trading centre. The success and wealth of Somba Opu drives power hungry westerners to own this Nusantara territory. Marking their win, control and most importantly supremacy. Somba Opu admit defeat to the Dutch VOC in 16th century and was left unkept, unattended and left to ruin.
I have a very high expectation on Somba Opu, however, some part was still under restoration and the rest looked stressed by the weather. There were a couple of houses that looks like it is open for public but we gave it a skipped, I saw a group of students pitching tents (must be school activities of some sort) and an archaeological museum where artifacts and relics found during excavations of the fort areas. It is said that Somba Opu is the strongest fortress ever built the archipelago, with its solid thick red brick walls and bastions guarding every angle with cannon known to be the most powerful during the time proves that the fort is impenetrable.
With its fame days narrated to me while I was there, the sense of pride seen on the locals’ face, I felt that Somba Opu Fortress should be better kept and managed, information and proper signages placed accordingly, its history video-ed and aired for the public to see and understand and perhaps seek the locals to act and relive its beautiful glory day. I truly believe it is worth the effort, dollars and time for the love of Makassar history, culture and heritage.
Fort Somba Opu (Makassarese Baruga Somba Opu, Indonesian Benteng Somba Opu) was a fortified commercial center of the Gowa Sultanate. Its remnants is located in Makassar, South Sulawesi, Indonesia. The fort was one of the center of the Gowa Sultanate in the 16th-century until its destruction by the Dutch East India Company in 1669. The conquest of Somba Opu citadel was one of the most difficult campaigns the Company had ever undertaken in the East.
Somba Opu Fortress
Jl. Cendrawasih, Kab. Gowa
(access road to Jl. Daeng Tata)