IO – Javanese people conceive of Magelang as a nail fastening the island of Java. And the head of the nail is Tidar Hill, which is said to keep Java in balance. As we climb to the top of Tidar, we scan the horizon to see Magelang’s many old buildings from the Dutch colonial times.
Even though Magelang is not a big city, staying in a hotel in the middle of the city still offers many conveniences. Various places, traditional markets and interesting culinary tours can be reached on foot. If you are too lazy to walk, rickshaws can be a reliable transportation.
Exactly in the town square, there stands buildings from the Dutch colonial era that are still impressive to this day. Among them is the massive water tower right on the square. The building from 1920, which is now owned by the Magelang PDAM, looks very thick and sturdy.
Even more antique than that is the Western Indonesian Protestant Church (GBIP) which is located just a stone’s throw from the water tower. In front of the ancient church building there was a sign that reads “Magelang Heritage 1812”. Apparently, the church was older than the Diponegoro War. History records that Prince Diponegoro surrendered in Magelang in 1830.
Visiting the square, there are indeed many places that can be seen at once. The Great Mosque of Magelang on the west side of the square is also special, because it is about the same age as the GPIB church. From the mosque walking towards the south there is the legendary Kupat Tahu food stand, the Tahu Corner which has been the former President, SBY’s regular choice since he was a cadet at the Military Academy, while on the south side of the square stands a magnificent ancient temple that was recently restored.
On the city side not far from Tidar Hill, there is also a gate of the former Dutch cemetery. The Dutch cemetery no longer exists now: it has been replaced with housing and shops. This unique cemetery can be an interesting tour destination with various forms of Dutch gravestones inside. The former cemetery gate is now painted again and still looks sturdy; it’s still standing, even though it may also be aged more than a century.
An interesting and quite challenging activity that can be done while in Magelang is climbing Tidar Hill. This hill is not too high and easy to climb because it has stairs complete with handrails to the top. However, if your body is not in good condition, this hiking trip might leave you struggling to the top.
A number of seats are provided as a place to rest on the way to the top of Tidar. While resting, there are men climbing the stairs while carrying a 15 kg sack of rice without even panting. All that is done every day without a hitch to supply the stalls near the tomb.
Apparently on the hill, which is often referred to as the balancing nails of the island of Java, there are the graves of the figures who spread Islam in Java, Syech Subakir and Kyai Sepanjang. The two graves were crowded with pilgrims from cities around Magelang.
Tidar hilltop is very wide. Here there is a monument with Javanese script that reads “sa”. There are also Military Academy monuments. Then, on the other side, there are Kyai Semar’s fireworks, with a cone-like building.
Sitting at the top of this hill is really cool and relaxed, thanks to the lush shade trees from the foot to the top. Going down a different staircase, the sun is right over your head. The right kind of lunch after going up Tidar Hill top is Pak Parto’s red bean soup in the former Tidar Terminal. Various side dishes such as fried tofu, fermented soybean cake, bakwan or fried lungs makes the senerek soup lunch more delicious. (Caecilia Linggarjati)