Death of Civilization City Whirls

Ilham khoiri & mahdi muhammad

Padang's west coast today was like no man's land area. Cities that were lined up from Lampung, Bengkulu, West Sumatra, Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam to the left in several aspects of life. In fact, this area had been a point vortex of civilization and international trade routes.

Singkil town, a town on the west coast of Sumatra, now resembles a ghost town. The soil surface decreased by around 1.5 meters pascagempa December 2004. This area was often flooded and houses were besieged swamp. Many homes were left vacant or closed stagnant water reeds.

Condition of the Old City Singkil more tragic. Remnants of old buildings covered with mud and shrubs. "The city is increasingly no longer maintained, the fate of cities like New Singkil will too," said Tuanku Abdul Rahman (35), the local residents.

Impression of "no man's land" immediately felt so down the road that connects the cities. West Sumatra Tourism Expedition Cross by National Geographic Traveler, Compass, late April-early May, found the causeway west of Sumatra were destroyed. There are huge holes, asphalt peeled off, even landslides in the path of Banda Aceh to Lampung.

The damage is very severe at some point. Just mention links between climbs Sedayu, Tanggamus, until Pemerihan and Krui, West Lampung. Similarly, the road from the city of Bengkulu towards Mukomuko to Tapan, West Sumatra.

On Air Punggul, before Mukomuko, street-like pools of water buffalo. Holes five feet wide filled with mud up in the middle of the road. Passing through these bad roads, the trucks often sink hole, strike, or even falling into a ravine.

"It happens," explained Sanyo (40), truck driver origin of Bengkulu.

Life of the cities along the west coast are also of concern. In addition to the City Singkil, similar conditions appear in the city of Natal, Natal Mandailing District; also in Kota Barus, Central Tapanuli, North Sumatra. All three cities were once the international trade routes.

In the city of Natal, some old relics around the town square has been damaged. The beach was unkempt and dirty. Economic activity slow. Camphor, a city once famous for its camphor or camphor, are not much different. Some buildings, housing, auction a fish, and fish landing base at the port was matted unkempt long.

"Old is the construction of the city untouched," said Jufri (37), one of the citizens. The only new building in recent years only a refueling station for the public.

Ever bright

In a way, the life of the west coast of Sumatra now retreated than glorious history. In prehistoric times until early AD, the region stretching from Bukit Barisan Lampung, South Sumatra, Bengkulu and Jambi is one of the megalithic culture center. Many sites that left the huge stones for the ceremony, burial, settlement, and metal tools.

For archaeologist at the Archaeological Heritage Preservation Hall Jambi, Agus Widiatmoko, some relics of that time it reflects the society begin to recognize the settled life and a metal tool making technology. "They connect with Dong Son culture in Vietnam through the west coast of Sumatra," he said.

In the 16th century until the 20th AD, the western coast of Sumatra became an international trade route. As noted in the book Gusti Asnan World Maritime West Coast of Sumatra (2007), the people on the beach facing the Indian Ocean are associated with some countries, such as Dutch, Portuguese, United Kingdom, China, and India.

City Barus, Singkil, and Christmas City is a civilization vortex points, including a center spread of the religion of Islam and Buddhism at that time. Position in the estuary of the river make this city into a strategic entrance to the world.


Why central Sumatra civilizations past has now actually retarded? According to the Head of the Department of Anthropology University of North Sumatera Zulkifli Lubis, changes in sea to the land transport modes, especially with the construction of roads by the Dutch, encouraging people to switch from a boat or ship to a car or train. After independence, the old cities were not given a role as a center of government. While policy makers have no awareness of caring for the historic cities.

Another problem which until now was clearly felt by the public is timpangnya development. Lack of government attention that makes this region than the region far behind the middle or on the east coast of Sumatra, such as Palembang, Pekanbaru and Medan. In fact, the western region also has potential, from plantations, fisheries, tourism, arts and culture.

"If the government want to just level the building, we can move forward," said Zainal Arifin, the resident of Bengkulu. When will these expectations met?


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