The Buried Fortress


If not for the occasional appearance in international headlines whenever Indonesia executes the drug convicts in the infamous Nusakambangan Island, the town of Cilacap in Central Java may easily be forgotten. It does serve as the main harbor for the prison island and many people merely bypass the roads and go straight to the harbor. Indeed, the sleepy town boasts little else than some beaches, and the domestic visitors often complain about the scorching heat. But a visit to a local attraction of Benteng Pendem (lit. The Buried Fortress) will reveal just how important this town was in the Dutch era when it served as a coast observation post to the passing vessels.

Benteng Pendem was initially constructed by the Dutch in 1861 on a hill overlooking the island and the entire surrounding coastal areas. The architecture is barely visible because most of the walls are underground. Fast forward to World War II, the Japanese immediately realized the strategic location and continued the construction with their own labyrinth of caves. The Indonesian National Naval Force also used this fortress at one time for training the marines in coastal invasion operations. It is now an inspiring museum.

Coming to the fortress, you will see that it has countless of narrow entrances and exits to serve various military purposes. Let me take you to see some of them:

Other entries for this week’s photo challenge may be found here.

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