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Take a trip back in time and explore the history of Palembang by stepping into the Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II Museum (SMB II). Not only is the museum rich in its collections, but the building itself is a historical legacy, as it is a monument of the golden age of the Palembang Sultanate.
Located on the riverbank of the Musi, the museum exhibits various collections ranging from archeology, ethnography, biology, arts and especially numismatics, the study or collection of currencies. Here, you can find many historical remnants from photo collections of the Kedukan Bukit inscriptions, ancient statues of Buddha and the Ganesha Amarawati, as well as various other remnants including those from the Sriwijaya era.
Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II was the ruler of Palembang from 1803 to 1821. This museum that bears his name was once the palace of the Palembang Darussalam Sultanate. Originally called the Keraton Kuto Kecik or Keraton Kuto Lamo, this building along with the Palembang Grand Mosque was built during the era of Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin Jayo Wikramo or SMB I. Distinct from other buildings of the same era that mainly uses woods, the palace was built with bricks.
With the arrival of the Dutch in the 17th century, the palace was occupied by the colonial army. During the 1st Palembang war in 1819, the Dutch landed 200 troops here who were placed at the Keraton Kuto Lamo. After Sultan Mahmud Badadruddin II was captured and exiled, the Dutch plundered and wrecked buildings in Palembang, including the Keraton Kuto Lamo. In 1823, the Dutch began to reconstruct buildings upon the ruins. At the former Keraton Kuto Lamo, a residence was built for the Kingdom of Netherland’s commissary in Palembang, Yohan Isaac van Sevenhoven. On 1842 the building was completed and was locally popular as the snail house (Rumah Siput).
History still held a grip on this building when the Japanese arrived in the 1940’s. With the 2nd World War raging in the Pacific, the Japanese utilized this historical building as their military base. After Indonesia’s Proclamation of Independence in 1945, the building became a military base for Indonesia’s IV regiment: the Sriwijaya .
As a site that was involved in so many historical events, the Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II Museum is a display that elaborates various eras in history. As day turns into night, prep your camera to face the overall front view of the museum and wait for all lights to shine. When it does, check your camera’s LCDs and see what splendor you’ve captured.
Museum Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II is a perfect place to explore the history of Palembang. From the age of Sriwijaya, the Palembang Darussalam Sultanate, the Dutch colonial era and the Japanese occupation up to the early era of Indonesia;s independence are all presented in its 368 collections. The architecture itself is unique as it is a combination of Dutch colonial and native Palembang Palace style.
To go to Palembang, take a flight to the Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II International Airport. The airport is located on Tanjung Api-Api Street and is accessible from many countries including Malaysia, Singapore, China, and Thailand. The distance between the airport and the museum is about 6 km away. From the airport, take a taxi or a rented car.