JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – The city of Old Semarang in Central Java has been named a national heritage site by the Indonesian Ministry of Education and Culture through its Directorate-General for Culture, its deputy mayor confirmed on August 21.
“Yes, it is correct,” Semarang Deputy Mayor Hevearita Gunaryanti Rahayu told Kompas.com, referring to the status of Old Semarang.
The deputy mayor, who is also the head of the Old City Management Board (BPK2L), said the new status for Old Semarang was based on a new Regulation of the Ministry of Education and Culture No.682/P/2020, which was signed on August 12, 2020.
The deputy mayor, who is known as Ita, said that the plan had been through a long process since 2017. It started with the plan to promote the then old city of Semarang to become a Unesco Heritage sites.
“However, it turned out that the old city of Semarang had not yet been listed in the national heritage sites, not even at the provincial level,” she said.
The team then fought for the national heritage status. However, through the discussions with the expert team of the national heritage sites, it would not be enough for the old city of Semarang alone to fulfill the requirements. The reason was, she said, many countries such as in Europe already have centuries-old buildings that are similar to the Old City of Semarang.
The national heritage sites team suggested that the historical stories behind the Old City and the surrounding areas be emphasized, she said.
“Currently, the Old City area becomes part of the city of Old Semarang, which also comprises three other historical locations namely Kauman, Malay, and China Town,” she said.
“We want to highlight that there is a story to tell. Four different communities live harmoniously for centuries until now,” Ita added.