Saturday, September 6, 2008
"Alun-alun" Bandung - Life at Bandung's City Square #1
"Tahu Gejrot" vendor at Bandung City Square - ©Eki Qushay Akhwan
Text and pictures copyrights ©Eki Qushay Akhwan, all rights reserved
City square (or in Indonesian "alun-alun") holds a very important function in the Javanese cosmological concept of a city. Alun-alun is not just an open public space or park in the center of the city. It is literally the front yard of a king/ruler's palace/residence. Surrounding it are the various symbols of a society/nation's livelihood. By rule, the palace should be located on the southern part of the square, facing north. On the west is placed a house of worship (the divine element: a mosque in Moslem Indonesia; a temple in Hindu era Indonesia). East of the square is the place for the market (the mundane/worldly element), and north is the place for the administrative offices of the kingdom/country/city.
Bandung's city square is as old as the city itself. The square was built as part of the new capital city of Bandung Regency in the early 19th century (before then, the capital was located at Dayeuh Kolot [old city], further south of where the current city square is located). The square's face has undergone a lot of changes since then, but one thing remains the same: It's still a bustling, open public space where citizens meet and do different kinds of activities.
In this series of photo coverage, I am trying to show you what life is like at Bandung's City Square today.
Leatherware and trinkets vendor at Bandung City Square - ©Eki Qushay Akhwan
"Sate" vendor at Bandung City Square - ©Eki Qushay Akhwan