Weather :

Timings : 8:00 AM - 7:00 PM

Time Required : 1-2 hrs

Entry Fee : No entry fee

Benteng Somba Opu, Makassar Overview

Known as a fortified commercial center of the Gowa Regency in the 16th Century, Somba Opu Fort bears the marks of history situated in Makassar, South Sulawesi, Indonesia. The area surrounding the Benteng Somba Opu (Indonesian for Fort Somba Opu) has been developed into a recreation park (housing relics from the Sowa kingdom), and a museum (displaying historical objects of the Sultanate of Gowa) along with the Gowa Discovery Amusement Park. The Somba Opu Fort is, thus, an ideal place for a day-outing with the young ones in tow.

The Somba Opu museum and park stands testimony to the colonial style built palaces of then rulers of the Gowa Dynasty and exhibits few very rare unearthed artefacts in the park museum compound and other antique objects inherited by the Gowa Regency. Bordered by the River Jeneberang originating from Mount Bawakaraeng, the forted complex covered about 1500 hectares of area, only a few meters south from the river. Benteng Somba Opu was once the trade center for spices and other goods, used by the traders of Asia, Indonesia and the Europe region. 

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Benteng Somba Opu

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History of Somba Opu Fort

Somba Opu was formerly erected in 1525 by the first King of the Gowa Dynasty, Sultan Daeng Matanre Karaeng Tumapa'risi' Kallonna. Later, in the 16th century, King Tunipalangga consented the establishment of a trading port for the merchants in Makassar with the strongest bastions and towers around it. Somba Opu became the unsurpassed trading port for Indonesia’s finest spices, nutmegs and other goods. Once the trade center trived, the Benteng Somba Opu was invaded and looted by the Dutch East India Company in 1669 and later on destructed by the tidal waves of the Jeneberang River’s mouth.

Later on, the fort resurfaced on an island formed by a pair of mouths of the present River Jeneberang and was hence rediscovered in 1980s by a group of scientists who later on helped in reconstruction of Somba Opu in the year 1990. Tourists with an inkling for cultural and historical experience can visit this reconstructed traditional reserve of South Sulawesi, standing tall as an open air museum and a widespread conventional park to witness antiquity in the most beautiful way. 

In 1980’s a group of archaeological scientists discovered the ruins of Fort Somba Opu, and reconstruction of presently standing structure of the fort began in 1990. The historical site still encompasses the colonial style palace of the local rulers, several traditional Toraja houses, a 9 meter lengthen cannon weighing around 9,500 kilograms and a museum preserving the inherited objects of the Gowa Regency.

Best Time to Visit

It is advisable to visit the fort during daylight to better explore the location. An early morning stroll around the museum and the park can be a happily calm one with a leverage over crowded tourist hours.

Tips

  • The entrance to the archeological site is free. Do not fall for locals trying to cut your pockets.
  • Benteng Somba Opu is rather poorly maintained in comparison to other historical sites of Makassar lacking general signage and historical facts board of display.  
  • It is advisable to pre-book a guided tour of this restored fort complex that houses a museum and an extensive park to better understand the historical timeline of the Gowa Regency. 

How To Reach Fort Somba Opu

Located on the south coast of the Makassar city, Fort Somba Opu can be reached via motorbike, taxi or private car in about 15 to 20 minutes. Benteng Somba Opu is located on the Daeng Tata Jalan(Street), Benteng Somba Opu sub-district, Barombong, Gowa, South Sulawesi – nearly 9 kilometers from the city center of Makassar, Indonesia.

One can rent a motorbike or a private car to reach the location. The one way taxi fare from the city center of Makassar to Benteng Somba Opu costs around IDR 30,000. The road to fort is not well maintained and rocky. Hence, be very careful while driving.

No public bus shuttles operate on this route.

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