All regions in Indonesia have numerous landmarks and sites that record the historical events happened in the past throughout the periods of time. Papua, the largest and easternmost island in Indonesia, also has its own historical sites. Besides the museum, several historic areas can be found both in the main cities as well as around the towns and regency in Papua. Below are five historical sites that can be found on the Island of Papua.
In addition to being the national bird and one of the Papuan treasures, Cenderawasih is used as the name for a museum that shows various collections related to the World War II. The museum is located ahead of the Naval Force office in Biak, or to be exact, in Sisingamangaraja Street, Mandala, Biak City District, the Province of Papua.
Aside from the war-related artifacts, relics, weaponry, and military memorabilia that are displayed inside the museum, the outside part of the museum’s building shows unique style and design as it applies the traditional architecture of Biak traditional house. This architectural style brings a sense of Papua custom and conformity that can be enjoyed by those who pay this museum a visit.
Tapurarang Archaeological Site
Tapurarang Archaeological Site is located in Kokas, Fakfak Regency, West Papua. Its location stands near the coastal area while being surrounded by hills and sloping riverbank. The sites consist of stone caves containing archaeological remains from the megalithic period.
Historical traces originated from the ancient era can be found in the cave. The traces provide a glance of how people in the past live and interact with each other. One of the most noticeable relics found on the cave walls is red-colored marks and paintings in various forms. Several things that become the objects of the painting include human’s body parts such as, faces, palms of the hand, and soles of the foot.
There are also wall paintings with natural objects, including leaf, dolphin, lizards, and plants. The paintings are believed to convey the meaning of how people in the past use the cave in their daily life. Moreover, because the relics on the cave walls are painted in red, some people call those wall paintings as “the blood handprints”.
In the World War II, Owi Island, or known by the locals as Pulau Owi, played a strategic role when it was used as the battleship area by the allied forces to outfight the Japanese armies. The battle between Japanese and the allied forces took place at two regions: the area of Pacific Ocean and the area in Southeast Asia.
Besides the historical value that lies in the area of the island, Owi Island also offers a beautiful ocean view. This island is surrounded by three ocean national parks: Meos Indi Island, Rani-Mapia Island, and Padaido National Park. Having a historical site and natural attraction at once, Owi Island is the perfect destination for those who want to learn about the history in the past while enjoying the pleasant ambiance of nature.
Besides Owi Island, Papua has another historical site that is related to the Pacific battle between Japanese armies and the allied forces. Japanese Cave, located in Biak, Biak Numfor Regency, served as the hidden path that is used by the armies to build their detailed strategy in the battle.
Japanese Cave consists of two different caves: Binsari Cave and Five-Room Japanese Cave. The unique fact is that the two caves are actually connected through the underground path, starting from Binsari Cave as the entrance gate to Five-Room Japanese Cave as the exit. The later cave is located next to the coastal region of the Pacific Ocean.
Raja Ampat Historical Site
Raja Ampat is not only popular for its undersea beauty or the breathtaking view of the island. This well-known tourist destination is also a home to historical sites of ancient kingdom civilization. The remaining sites of the human civilization from the past are mostly found in Misool Island. Some of the remains that can be seen until today are stone caves and wall paintings. The paintings are believed to have existed since two thousand years ago.
Looking back through history, the name ‘Raja Ampat’ itself is derived from the local language that means ‘the four kings’. The title is given to the area in the fifteenth century when one of the Islamic Sultans from Tidore Sultanate pointed four local kings to lead the four islands: Waigeo, Batanta, Salawan, and Misool. In the present time, the four islands become the administrative region of Papua, while Waigeo serves as the capital city of Raja Ampat Regency.
Those five historical sites are the right places to visit for those who want to learn about history while getting to know the heritage lies in the Island of Paradise. Learning about history does not always have to rely on thick or heavy books. Having an adventurous trip on one particular island can also create a wonderful experience.