THE REMAINS OF FORTRESS GATEWAY AT GUNONG KENUPUK

Image by William EhrenDreich from Pixabay.com

Belitung Island is not only well-known for its beauty of nature but also the historical remains that most archaeologists are willing to see. There are still a great number of mysteries of those sites which will be very interesting for experts to explore.

There is the remains of a fortress at Kenupuk hill (Gunong Kenupuk) in Kelekak Usang small village. Nobody cares about this historical ruins and it is in the state of decay. If you work at the nearby oil palm plantation, you’ll often see the locals taking some tourists to visit this site.

According to Mr. Salim Yan Albert Hoogstad, it is a fortress gateway and was built hundreds of years ago. It is about four kilometers from the mouth of Cerucuk River.

Cerucuk River was the important trade route during the Dutch occupation. At that time, the fortress was the entrance to Belitung Island. There was no sign of the remains of kampong from that era and what you can see are bushes and an old banyan tree at the location.

The location of the entrance gate is surrounded by rubber and oil palm plantations, but it remains untouched. No one dares to cut the trees at that place.

Some shamans who possess the power of extra sensory perception say that it’s the territory of an unseen empire. A great many of guardians roam around to protect their properties day and night. That’s why woodcutters feel that a strong indescribable power always prevents them from cutting the trees or removing anything from that area.

Many of the workers who work at the oil palm plantation have never visited that creepy site. They admire it only from the distance because they’re too scared of getting bad luck or being followed by evil spirits.

Bad spirits like negative energy. If you’ve a lot of negative energy, they are likely to track you. It is traditionally believed that the negative energy can be cleaned by taking a ward off evil bath with seven kinds of flowers on Jum├ít Kliwon night.

The remains of the fortress is at the foot of the hill. Five meters away from the gateway, it is the cliff which shares the boundary with Cerucuk River.

Fifteen meters before reaching the location, there is a remaining portion of a 12 cm thick brick wall and many parts of it collapsed due to old age.

The entrance gate is 2 meters high and 152 cm wide. The wall on the right side has a window and it was probably used for spying the enemy.

The fortress was built after the Dutch government sent 100 soldiers to occupy Belitung Island. The purpose of sending armed forces was to solve the problems of piracy against merchant ships.

Although the piracy could be kept under control, the operating expenses were too high. As it wasn’t profitable enough, the commissioner decided to pull back his soldiers. In order to keep the flag flying, twelve men were left to stay at the fortress.

Dr. F.W Stapel, the lecturer of colonial history wrote more details about this matter. He said that the first fortress in Belitung was built at Tanjung Simba by Captain Motte on 31st October 1822. Till now, the existence of Tanjung Simba is still in mystery.

More efforts are needed to clear all the doubts and find out the truth. It is said that Tanjung Simba is four kilometers away from the estuary of Cerucuk River.

The entrance gate at Gunong Kenupuk doesn’t really show us any further details of the past of Belitung Island. However, the discovery of such entrance gate indicates that Belitung still keeps a great number of unknown histories.

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