Bukittinggi

bukittingy old Dutch clock

Bukittinggi (Indonesian for “high hill”) is the second biggest city in West Sumatra, Indonesia, with a population of over 115,000 people. It is in the Minangkabau Highlands, 90 km by road from the West Sumatran capital city of Padang. The whole area is directly adjacent to the Agam Regency and near the volcanoes Mount Singgalang (inactive) and Mount Marapi (still active). At 930 m above sea level, the city has a cool climate with temperatures between 16 to 25 degrees. The city is the birthplace of some of the founders of the Republic of Indonesia, such as Mohammad Hatta and Assaat.

bukittingy old sumatran building 2Bukittinggi was formerly known as Fort de Kock and was once dubbed as Parijs van Sumatera besides of Medan. The city has been the capital of Indonesia during the Emergency Government of the Republic of Indonesia (PDRI). Before it became the capital of PDRI, the city has become the center of government, both at the time of the Dutch East Indies and during the Japanese colonial period.

During the Japanese occupation of Indonesia in World War II, the city was the headquarters for the Japanese 25th Army, the force that occupied Sumatra. In 1949 after the Dutch government recognized Indonesian sovereignty the city was officially renamed Bukittinggi, replacing its colonial name. Bukittinggi is also known as a tourist city in West Sumatera. A well-visited tourist spot is the Jam Gadang, a clock tower located in the heart of the city which is also a symbol for the city.

bukittingy old sumatran building 1Bukittinggi is connected to Padang by road; a dysfunctional railway line also exists. The city preserves the traditional horse-cart widely known in the area as Bendi, although the use is limited and more popular with tourists, both domestic and foreign.