Friday, January 9, 2009

the castle in Yogya

There was one building in downtown Yogyakarta in Central Java which jutted out incongruously from the low-rise business tenements. It resembled a Gothic castle or church and it gave me the creeps. I was in a speeding car when I first saw a glimpse of it, I made a mental note to seek it out later.

I was visiting Yogya for the second time in ten years and a friend of a friend, a local of the city, volunteered to tour us about town. We already made the rounds of the Keraton Palace, the municipal hall, the town plaza, the train station and upon my instigation, practically all local Catholic churches. Somehow we still missed out that “church”. I prodded her some repeatedly to take me to that “church with gothic spires”. She gave a strange look as we already ran out of churches. When I described the building to her in detail, she finally realized what I was talking and took me there.

Abandoned at Yogyakarta
Canon PowerShot S40, 1/1000s, f/4.5, 8.6mm

No, this was no church. It was a house of an eccentric Catholic Indonesian who designed a gothic mongrel of a castle as a batik boutique in the 80s (or late 70s). Unfortunately, he did not have the foresight to check that there was NO parking spot so the 3-storey building eventually came to naught. Now it is abandoned, decrepit and silent. It is hidden 2 houses deep from the main street but you can see the spires rising out piercingly.

Unfortunately the interior street is so narrow only a motorcycle can get in so this was the ONLY shot that I was able to take. The place was locked and no one was around. I told you it was eerie…

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