A blast from the past in Semarang's old town area

Kota Lama Festival in Semarang, Central Java, held for two days starting Sept. 21, offers a recreation of the old city's golden days some 200 years ago.
"We want people to reminisce the olden days' atmosphere in Kota Lama, where traditional Javanese meets colonial era," head of Semarang cultural and tourism department Nurjanah told The Jakarta Post Travel last week.
Other than exhibitions and trading of antique items and vintage cars, visitors were also reminded of the past through classic children's toys such as kelereng (marbles) and dakon (a board game using cowry shells).
"Visitors can take pictures with the vintage cars by paying a ticket priced Rp 10.000, (US$ 80 cents)" said Gilbert Mega Rajasa from Oen's Foundation.
The event itself was free of charge.
Various choices of classic cuisine were available as well.
Jenny, the owner of the famous Toko Oen Semarang, said that she prepared up to 36 types of cakes for the festival.
"I also made classic dishes such as gehaktbal (meatballs), vogelnestje, tomaten soep met balletjes, huzaren sla, hache stampot (Holland's version of rawon or a blackish broth containing diced meat and beansprouts flavored with Pangium edule) and Toko Oen's fried rice," said Jenny.
Visitors were urged to go vintage in their attire as well.
"The event include a vintage costume competition," Gilbert said.
The Kota Lama Symphony performed at 7 p.m on the opening day at the the Asuransi Jiwasraya building.
"Kota Lama Symphony is basically a mini orchestra performance combining the arts of music, dance and operetta," said Nurjanah.
Kota Lama, or Oudstadt as it is also called, is a business area, a legacy from the Dutch colonial administration that built the European architectural compound in the 17th century.
The area, also nicknamed the “Little Netherlands”, is separated from the surrounding residential complexes and has its own specific character.
The 13-hectare area is home to 105 ancient buildings, 50 of which are still intact and well maintained.
Among the well-maintained ones are Gereja Blenduk church, which was built in 1753, the Asuransi Jiwasraya building, the Perkebunan XV building, Pelni building and other office buildings.
There are many communities in Semarang concerned about Kota Lama and they regularly hold events in the area on weekends. (Jakarta Post)
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