The 15-meter-high Bitombang Old House

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(Photo: Mia Kamila)

IO – Eastern Indonesian natural beauty always amazes tourists, especially the Selayar Islands of South Sulawesi, where white sand beaches are complemented by stunning underwater scenery. 

Apart from the nature, Selayar also has cultural uniqueness that does not exist in other regions. One example of this is the old Bitombang house in the Bitombang village. 

In Bitombang, many houses are estimated to be hundreds of years old. Uniquely, the Old House has a simple design, but stands 15 meters high. 

At first glance, the unusual height makes the houses look like they are on stilts, supported by hundreds of years-old wood. In fact, the wooden supports are still strong enough to support the burden of the house without any effect of weathering. 

The bitti/holasa wood used is known as strong enough to last for hundreds of years. 

The use of wooden supports for several residents’ houses is related to the uneven and hilly land contours. Residents also anticipate facing rice thieves and the supports as protection during tribal wars. 

There is a myth believed by residents that the high wooden support symbolizes long life for the homeowner. 

To build this house, Bitombang residents must perform a blessing ritual upon their family. In this ritual, participants must plant an incantation around the house without anyone knowing. 

Access to this village is very easy: it only takes 30 minutes to an hour on the winding, hilly road from the city of Benteng. 

As you pass, you will see dense groves of trees; take a motorbike to go around. (Mia Kamila)