Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Historic Banceuy Prison

This guard post is one of the things that remains of the historic Banceuy Prison in the center of the city.

Banceuy Prison (Penjara Banceuy) is one of the most historic places in the city of Bandung. It was here that Soekarno, the first President of the Republic of Indonesia and one of the signers of its declaration of independence, was jailed -- from 1930 to 1931 -- for his role as a leader of the PNI (Indonesian National Party). PNI was one of the political parties that explicitly and actively advocated Indonesian independence from the Dutch.

There is no clear historical record when exactly this prison was constructed. But it may have been built towards the end of the 19th century, probably in the year 1871. In 1983, this prison was demolished and in its place was built a shopping center (called Banceuy Permai), leaving only this piece of relics and the prison cell in which Soekarno was jailed. The correctional facility has since that been moved to a new location to the south of the city.

The Banceuy Prison is a prominent examples of how historic buildings in this city have been demolished and replaced by new buildings in the name of development, an indiscriminate practice that unfortunately is still continuing today. Some fear that at the rate the heritage buildings are currently torn down, the city will very soon only have a little of its history left. Bandung will then become a city without (much) trace of its history.

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