Every region in Indonesia has their own history, and Papua has no exception from that. It is usually written in books, filmed documentary, museums, and historical sites. Books and films are good sources to study, but visiting historical sites and landmarks is more interesting to do. While going on vacation to Papua, you might as well want to add some of Papua’s historical sites listed in this article to your travel plan.
The Libra monument was inaugurated in 2013. It is named Libra (Lingkaran Brawijay) because it is located in the middle of the crossroad of Brawijaya and Parakomando street in Merauke City. On that monument, there is a number “1902” which symbolizes the year where the Marind locals started interacting with the outside world.
The Libra monument has a meaning. It means the balance of four realms, identical with four Animha indigenous groups that are smart thinkers, hard-working, responsible, harmonious and fair, and transparent. It has a unique design and very beautiful at night.
Apart from its unique design, water fountains are also installed around the base of the monument. It symbolizes that Merauke and its area are an important Ramsar Site in Indonesia. At the border of the monument’s pond, it is decorated with greeneries, symbolizing the richness of Merauke’s forest. Meanwhile, the pedestrian place that circles the pool’s side symbolizes soil or “Lumpur Merauke”.
Cendrawasih Museum is named after the bird of paradise itself that is indigenous to Papua. The museum exhibits various item collections related to World War II. The museum is located in Biak; to be exact, it is in Sisingamangaraja Street—near the Naval Force office.
Besides exhibiting World War II artifacts, such as weaponry, relics, and military memorabilia inside the museum, the museum also has an interesting outer part applying the traditional house of Biak architecture. It shows unique designs, and the style of the building brings a sense of comfort that can be enjoyed by everyone visiting it.
Raja Ampat Historical Site
The popularity of Raja Ampat’s underwater sea beauty is not something to be questioned anymore. However, did you know that there are historical sites of human civilization in the area? These historical sites are mostly found in Misool Island. The remains of the civilization that can be seen today are wall paintings and stone caves. They are believed to have existed since 2000-years ago.
The name Raja Ampat derives from the local language which means “the four kings”. It was given by the Tidore Sultanate that pointed four local kings to lead Misool, Batania, Waigeo, and Salawan. Today, Raja Ampat, which consists of those four islands, becomes an administrative regency in West Papua with Waigeo as the capital.
Tapurarang Archeological Site
Another one of Papua’s historical sites is the Tapurarang Archeological Site where you can find the remains of the megalithic period inside stone caves. This archeological site is located near the coastal area surrounded by sloping riverbank and hills. To be specific, it is in Kokas, Fakfak regency, West Papua.
Inside the caves, there are wall paintings of natural objects, such as plants, dolphins, and lizards. It is believed that the paintings were used to convey the message of how people used the caves during the megalithic period. The wall paintings were painted in red, because of that some people call them “the blood handprints”.
The red-colored paintings are the most noticed relics and considered a trace on how people in that area, during the megalithic period interacting with one another. Other than natural objects, there are paintings of human body parts, such as foot soles, hand palms, and faces.
Owi Island has a beautiful ocean panorama, surrounded by three national ocean parks namely, Padaido National Park, Rani-Mapia Island, and Meos Indi Island. Apart from its beauty, Owi Island also has a historical value. It was used as a battleship area between the allied forces and the Japanese armies.
During World War II, the battle between the allied forces and the Japanese armies took place in two areas: in Southeast Asia and the Pacific Ocean—making Owi Island a strategic place for battle. Having both natural beauty and historical value at once makes Owi Island a perfect destination to learn history while admiring its nature.
The Japanese Cave is another historical site related to the Pacific battle between the allied forces and the Japanese Army. It is specifically located in Biak, Biak Numfor Regency—north of Owi Island. The cave served as a hidden path used by the Japanese army to build their detail strategy for upcoming battles.
The cave consists of Five-Room Japanese Cave and Binsari Cave connected via an underground path. The Binsari Cave served as the entrance, and the Five-Room Japanese Cave is the exit.
For people and tourists who are interested in history, you might want to add one or more of those sites into your travel plan. Create wonderful experiences by having adventurous trips to Papua’s historical sites!