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Rabu
22
Jun '05

Idle Cipanas villa makes comeback


Out of sight from the lines of cars heading to Puncak, the historic Cipanas presidential retreat returned briefly to the spotlight on June 5 when President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono used it as the venue to honor environmentalists.

Cipanas villa, which was a favorite retreat for founding president Sukarno and his family, is part of a 26-hectare forest that has been named a conservation area.

Located at the foot of Mount Gede in Cipanas, West Java, some 103 kilometers south of Jakarta, the villa was built in 1740 during the Dutch colonial era.

The name Cipanas means springwater in Sundanese and comes from the sulfur spring located on the ground’s of the villa.

However, the former peace and beauty of the presidential retreat has been disturbed by the traditional market located just 50 meters away, with street vendors and piles of garbage encroaching all the way up to the gates of the villa.

“The villa is a local asset. I do not know what the Cianjur regent is doing to resolve this chronic traffic congestion … the administration could move the market,” said Titin, a resident of Cipanas subdistrict, Pacet district.

Two major events in the country’s history occurred at the presidential retreat.

The first was on Dec. 13, 1965, when Sukarno depreciated the rupiah from Rp 1,000 to Rp 1.

The second was when Indonesia hosted a three-day summit between the Philippine government and the insurgent Moro National Liberation Front from March 14, 1993. The mediator of the talks was the Organization of the Islamic Conference.

During his rule, Sukarno built a pavilion on the grounds of the villa where he wrote his official speeches. The pavilion, designed by architects RM Sudarsono and F. Silaban — the latter the architect behind the Grand Mosque in Central Jakarta — has stone walls, from which it derived its name Gedung Bentol (bumpy building).

Besides the main building and Gedung Bentol, the complex has five other pavilions, each named after one of the five Pandawa Lima brothers in the Mahabharata epic: Yudistira, Bima, Arjuna and the twins Nakula and Sadewa.

Despite its history the villa has been largely idle in recent years, except for a newly built tennis court that is sometimes used by politicians on weekends.

The director of the Cibodas Botanical Gardens, Holif Imamudin, said the local administration should help improve the beauty of the area by replacing a soccer field located across from the palace with a small forest.

“The villa is a symbol of the country. There should be a way to solve the traffic problems around here,” he said.

Sumber : (Theresia Sufa) The Jakarta Post, Bogor


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