A look back at the history of Braga Street, Bandung’s metropolitan area during the colonial era

Jalan Braga
Braga Street in Bandung (IO/Jessica Yiswi)

Jakarta, IO – Braga is a main street in the city of Bandung which has played an important role since the Dutch colonial rule. This area was once a route for residents to transport various agricultural products, as well as a meeting place for residents of the city nicknamed Paris Van Java. The buildings, styled in colonial art deco architecture, are still preserved and have become a tourist attraction today.

There are various versions that explain the origin of the name Braga. Some say that “Braga” was named in honour of playwright Theotila Braga (1834-1924). That’s because this area became the venue for the Dutch drama association founded by Peter Sijht in 1881. Another version says the name comes from “Baraga” which a road by the river in Sundanese as it is situated on the banks of the Cikapundung River.

Braga St. had gone through various developments towards the end of the 19th century along with the growth of Bandung itself. This area is filled with shopping places for European residents who live around Bandung, especially preangerplanters or tea plantation entrepreneurs. According to Haryoto Kunto in his book “Wajah Bandoeng Tempo Doeloe” (1984), Braga St. was once the center of economic activities in the Dutch era. This area was once dubbed “De meest Europeaneesche winkelstraat van Indie” (the most prominent European shopping complex in the Dutch East Indies).