Monday, October 6, 2008

Jalan Braga: The History and The Art Market

JALAN BRAGA 1 copyrights Eki Akhwan

Jalan Braga (Braga Street) is one of Bandung's oldest and most well-known streets. It runs north to south and is only a little more than a kilometer long.

Throughout its history, Jalan Braga has had a couple of different names. It was once called "Karrenweg" (Dutch) because this street used to be muddy during the rainy season and dusty during the dry season. It was also once called "Jalan Culik" (Kidnapper's Street) because it used to be lined up with huge trees and dark and scary at night, that an urban legend circulated that kidnappers were lurking here and would snatched any children who were still out and about after the sun set.

The name Jalan Braga (Dutch: Bragaweg), according to historian Haryoto Kunto, began to be used in the 1880's after the name of a stage theater group established here by Residence Assistant Pieter Sijthoff on June 18, 1882.

For your information, Braga is also the name of a city in Portugal, and although Portugal had had an earlier contact with the Sundanese people and kingdom before the Dutch did, there is no evidence that the street name can be directly linked to the name of the Portuguese city.

In the early 20th Century, Bandung's burgemeester (mayor) B. Coops (1917 - 1928) proposed that Braga be made as De meest Europeesche winkelstraat van Indie (European style market street). In this plan, only European style architecture were supposed to be built on Braga. Since then, Jalan Braga became a prestigious street with European look.

Many things have of course changed between then and now. However, anyone who walks this street now can still see the little European look of this place (or what remains of it).

The above photo is of a painting street-vendor and the paintings he is selling that line up part of Jalan Braga today. Braga also has some art shops and some cafes and old book stores.

13 comments:

Carrie Hayes said...

I love the art! My art background has really helped me with the photography!! wonderful picture

Rambling Woods said...

The Europeans have left the mark is so many places that you wouldn't at first think of them being. I wonder how much the painter gets for the paintings...

nobu said...

I like that painting of cock.

JM said...

Very good information, Eki! As soon as I began reading your post I immediatelly though the name Braga came after the portuguese, because, in fact, we have been everywhere (I'm a bit travel addicted, but my ancestors were crazy! lol!)...

Hilda said...

Sounds like a very interesting street to walk through. Especially because of the bookstores! :D

Indonesia had many Portuguese and Dutch in the past? The Philippines had Spaniards!

babooshka said...

I admit I jumped to the Portugese connection. Street art along with street theatre and busking is something again we lack here. For an island full of arists and photographers we aren't very cultured. I always enjoy on my travels just browsing street art. Many hidden talents.

www.niamhphotography.com said...

Beautiful shot. Lovely colours.

Urang Awak said...

Dear Aa Eki,

I just found out about your DP today and OMG they are all beautifully done and very informative. Well done Aa'. I am looking forward for more photos of Bandung and absolutely you will be on my blog roll.

CONGRATS!

Brett said...

Great shot, love the colours.

Kelly said...

I love the color in this photo! A really nice shot I enjoyed the history lesson even more! Thank you!

metromanila said...

I would love to experience walking through this street someday.

Layrayski said...

Good one! I love how your city has obviously cultivated its artists! I especially like its low (not so low) perspective.

Very interesting post! (Kidnapper's street!)

Tisna Rudi said...

I just made photo gallery slide show with more than 50 photos about braga street as an open heritage gallery.

http://www.bandunglokalbisnis.com/review/jalan-braga-open-heritage-gallery.php