Fort Belgica

Fort Belgica
 
 
 
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We bimbled up to the fort to find it didn’t open until ten o’clock, three quarters of an hour to fine the various cemeteries nearby. We took a short-cut back to the village via a well maintained, sturdy wall. Not at all what we expected. Returning just after ten we had to start with a cannon at the foot of the hill.
 
 
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Well that’s a first, the trigger fingers operative – sitting to the task........I could see a muzzle poking over the wall.
 
 
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A kingfisher demanded he had his picture taken and now the trigger finger owner in correct stance.
 
 
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At the top of the rise we looked behind to see rain clouds threatening.
 
 
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A quick look at the left tower, a pose by the history and in through the corridor.
 
 
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One of the many rooms, looking across the parade ground and up the stairs.
 
 
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Bear in firing position and as the fort looked before it was fully restored (pictures of the fort in poor condition we found at the entrance).
 
 
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The thick wall, looking across to Beez and climbing up a tower.
 
 
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The view across the bay and a chap weeding the outer wall.
 
 
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Back at it with the trigger finger.
 
 
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Me up one of the towers and posing in the archway in my two pound frock. In Jumbo size, be very careful how you proceed with this sentence. Yes, dear.....
 
 
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Looking over the town of Banda Neira.
 
 
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The waters edge is where we found the small fish market. Quite a fort, quite a history. 
 
 
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Banda Neira 1724.
 
 
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Fort Belgica 1770.
 
Wiki Says: Fort Belgica is a 17th-century fort in Banda Neira, Banda Islands, Maluku Islands (the Moluccas), Indonesia. The fort acted as a fortification system for the islands of Banda where during the period, the only place in the world where nutmeg was produced.

 

 

 

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The modest early Fort Belgica on top of a hill, overlooking the Fort Nassau below.

 

History: Before Fort Belgica, there was a 16th-century Portuguese fort standing on a hill in Banda Neira. On the 4th of September 1611, Pieter Both, the first Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies, instructed the construction of a new fort to fortify the hill which dominated the original Dutch fortress, Fort Nassau. This fort was to be named either Belgica or Nederland, and it became Fort Belgica. Fort Belgica was a modest square fort on top of a hill. In 1662, Jan Pieterszoon Coen ordered the renovation of the original fort, so it was replaced with a more solid redoubt that could accommodate 40 men.

 

 

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Fort Belgica 1824..........

 

 

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.......and today.

 

By the mid seventeenth century earthquakes, the tropical monsoonal climate, and poor original construction materials and techniques had resulted in the structure becoming dilapidated. In 1667, Governor Cornelis Speelman instructed Engineer Adriaan de Leeuw to redesign and reconstruct the fort. The result was the present "castle", the major modification works started in 1672 and being completed by 1673. The new Fort Belgica was built from stone shipped to the island. The new design consisted of a low outer pentagonal structure with five angled corner bastions and a higher inner pentagon with five tall circular towers. It was the only fort of this kind throughout the Banda Islands.

Despite over 300,000 Guilders spent on the modifications, an armament of 50 guns and a garrison of 400 men Fort Belgica surrendered to a British fleet in 1796 without a shot fired. Returned to Dutch control in 1803, it was again taken by the British in 1810, when it was stormed by Captain Cole and his men.

 

 

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Pictures of the fort in a poorly state.

 

Partially demolished in 1904, it was incompletely rebuilt in 1919. In 1991, following the order of General Leonardus Benjamin Moerdani, at that time the Minister of Defence and Security of Indonesia, the fort was thoroughly restored.

The Fort: Fort Belgica is pentagonal in form. It consists of a low outer pentagonal structure and a higher inner pentagonal structure. A stair access on the southernmost wall of the outer pentagon provides the sole point of entry to the fort. The lower pentagonal structure is equipped with five bastions, from the left hand side of the access point: Galge punt, Moorsche punt, Leugenaar punt, Metaale punt, and Klokke punt, each equipped with a bartizan. The higher inner pentagonal structure housed several rooms which was arranged surrounding a pentagonal-shaped inner courtyard. A stairs in one of the room provide an access point to the top level.

(A bartizan, also called a guerite or echauguette, is an overhanging, wall-mounted turret projecting from the walls of late medieval and early-modern fortifications from the early 14th century up to the 16th century. Most frequently found at corners, they protected a warder and enabled him to see his surroundings. Bartizans generally are furnished with oillets or arrow slits. The turret was usually supported by stepped masonry corbels and could be round or square.)

 

Status: In January 2015, Belgica Fort was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List as part of the Historic and Marine Landscape of the Banda Islands.

 

 

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Back at the main entrance and looking over the well kept garden that had a chap waiting for his photograph to be taken........

 

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ALL IN ALL REMARKABLE

                     VERY IMPRESSIVE