Ambon city is also the capital of this vast archipelago province of Maluku. With its long history since the hey-day of the famed Spice Trade, it has developed itself to what it now is: a bustling hub and center of trade, education, culture and development.
The city of Ambon was found around late 1500s and early 1600s after the Nossa Seinhora da Annunciada fort was erected by the Portuguese conquista dores.
The Dutch took it over in 1602 and changed this fort to Kasteel Victoria and later rebuilt, enlarged and renamed as Kasteel Nieuw Victoria until nowadays. The people of the whole Maluku archipelago still call it Victoria. Feeling save to live and work in and around the fort, local people began to settle near the fort and so the city began to grow until the present day Kota Ambon, known as "Ambon Manise" meaning "Beautiful Ambon" referring not only to the beauty of the city itself but also to the beauty of the Islands that represents the beauty of the whole Maluku archipelago.
The city now covers the area along the bays of the island the Ambon Bay, (Outer-and Inner Bay), and the Baguala Bay, making up a territory of about 277 sq.kms. The nowadays population is exceeding the 282 thousand souls consisting of people and races from all over the Maluku archipelago and even from other parts of Indonesia.
This is an old fort contributing to the founding of the City of Ambon, the Portuguese erected it in 1575, the Dutch took it over in 1602. The huge walls facing the Ambon bay are still preserved until today, while other parts are ruined. The old buildings inside are rebuilt into army officers' and soldiers'. It is an easy walk to get to the site when you are in downtown.
Patimura is the nickname given to Thomas Matulessy, a native from the island of Saparua who raised up against the Dutch in 1817. He caused the Dutch many headaches and was almost successful in taking over the strong Dutch Duurstede fort in Sapanua. In the early morning of the 15th of May in the same year Pattimura together with his followers besieged and ran the fort killing all the soldiers and civilians, leaving a live the youngest son of Van den Berg (at that time the Resident of Kasteel Duurstede).
He was later betrayed by one of the raja's (Village Head) in Saparua, and with some of his followers delivered to the Dutch authorities and brought to Ambon and after their trial, were sent to the gallows. Today Pattimura is acknowledged as a national hero in Indonesia. The Pattimura Memorial is erected, right on the spot where he was executed in the early 19th Century, on Jalan Slamet Rijadi dose to the governor Office and Victoria Fort.
Martha Christina Tiahahu Memorial
Martha Christina Tiahahu is also an acknowledged national heroine in Indonesia as one of the many freedom fighters. Martha Christina Tiahahu fought side by side and supported her father who also stood up and fought the Dutch colonialism in this archipelago. When the Dutch caught and executed her father on the tiny island of Nusalaut, south-east from Saparua, she was taken to Java to work on the tea and coffee plantations.
On board she refused any food offered by the Dutch crew. Suffering from misery and the execution of her father she passed away on the 2nd January 1818 at the age of only 18, and her body was then launched into the Banda Sea to have her final rest. To reach this memorial, one can take a minibus from the city to Karang panjang. From the rear of this memorial one can see the beautiful panorama of the City and the Blue Amboina Bay beneath or watch the sunset behind the rugged hills of the Leihitu Peninsula.
The Australian Monument
This memorial was erected by the Australian Government in 1967 to commemorate Doolan, an Australian serviceman. Doolan alone, had shot down a considerable amount of Japanese soldiers in the Second World War/Pacific War, while his comrades were retreating southward Ambon Island.
Unfortunately the Japans discovered his hiding spot and ambushed him, and forbade the villagers to bury his corps, but later in the evening someone took the courage to take away his decaying remains and buried them under the gandaria tree, where the present monument is erected, in Kudamati quarter. When taking a minibus to Kudamati, you will pass this memorial, the memorial is known to the citizen as Tugu Doolan or Doolan for short.
The founding of the museum is on November 8, 1973. The recent building is located in Taman Makmur hill. Maluku's heritage is preserved and portrayed in this museum. There are collections of ethnographic, historic and cultural and other scientific interests. Basically, this museum has two kinds of objectives that is from the historical-cultural point of view and the aquatic point of view.
Cultural performances and traditional events are presented as artistic attractions. Various kinds of souvenirs are also provided in a small cottage so that the visitors can buy the things of their interests. Most of the collections come from South-East Maluku, besides other ancient ones. The museum is located only 3 kilometers from the bus terminal, and to get there, you can board the Amahusu minibus with a stop at Taman Makmur or Batu Capeo. On special request, one can have the opportunity of watching local music, performances and hand woven cloth demonstrations.
The Sirimau Hill is on the Leitimor Peninsula. On top of it is a centuries-old urn, which is regarded sacred by the villagers. It is said that the urn is never empty. It is always filled with water, partially or full. The water can be drunk directly and be used to wash parts of our body such as the face, hands and legs while we are making our wishes that will come true someday.
If there is a visitor who finds the urn empty, it will mean that the person is likely to have bad luck. It is very unique to visitors who after prosperity and wealth or looking for an ideal partner to share his or her life, or to be healed from a serious illness. Another interesting tourism object in Soya village is the Ancient House of Soya King which is ornamented with antiquities and The Ancient Church (Protestant) which is still used by the parishioners.
The Soya village has once been visited by St. Franciscus Xaverius who arrivd in Ambon in 1546 on his trip to China for his missionary around East Asia. To commemorate his visit, it has been erected a half figure statue from the missionary just beside the Ancient Soya Church. Soya minibuses go from the Mardika terminal to Soya village.
Commonwealth War Cemetery
The Commonwealth War Cemetery is located in Kapahaha Tantui about 2 kms from downtown. The piece of land on which the graves are located is donated by the citizens of Ambon to be used as a burial ground for the Australian and New Zealand soldiers who had become the Japanese prisoners on World War II, and also the Alliance army who died during the war.
This area is an ex-Concentration Camp of Japanese prisoners who mostly were Australian people. This cemetery is well kept, and one can reach it by using minibuses. All minibuses that leaving the center of town will pass it since it is a one way passage. The ANZAC Day on every 25th of April is held at this spot. The ANZAC Day is an event to commemorate the soldiers and servicemen and women who died during the first and Second World War.
Many friends, relatives and old-veterans come here to pay tribute to these men and women who lay buried in this cemetery. Any vehicle which come out from Ambon to the north direction will pass this Cemetery, which the people of Ambon called as Australian Cemetery.
Fort Amsterdam was built by the Dutch in their early years of the Spice Trade at the beginning of the 17th Century, near the Hila old Church. It was the second Dutch fort on the island of Ambon, after Kasteel Van Nerre was built and destroyed in nearby Seith. Fort Amsterdam was built after the Vereenigde Oost Indische Compagnie, known as the famous VOC, was eswd by the Heeren Zeventien in Holland. The famous blind writer of Ambon Georgius Everhardus Rumphius had led a life of a prince in this fort and wrote some books on the biological vegetation and life of Ambon.
Old Hila Church
This was formerly a wooden church built by the Dutch in the 17th Century, built in the vicinity of Amsterdam fortress, but during the rule of Bernardus van Pleuren, then Governor of Comptoire Amboina (1775 - 1785), the church was renovated. After a strong earthquake in the late 1880s, the villagers rebuilt and changed the entrance to what it now is. The church is still in use for the services.
To get there, one can catch the same minibus leaving to the old mosque Wapauwe mentioned above. Every end of the year, that is on every January 31, there is a folk party held in Hila-Kristen Village which lasts until February 1, in the morning.
The Mosque is an ancient building which has Malayan character traits. According to the village story, this mosque was formerly built on the hills and later in 1414 by an unknown supernatural power it moved down to its present location in Kaitetu. Today it is still being used for the daily services. One can get to Kaitetu by using the same Hila-Kaitetu minibus leaving from downtown Mardika terminal. Hila and Keitetu are the two villages which lies side by side on the north part of Cape Leihitu, Ambon Island.
A garden covering a wide area grown with "Kelapa Raja" (short species of coconut tree) and many species of local orchids and local fruits.
Marine museum that includes men eating crocodile exhibit, a complete whale skeleton, and other marine specimens.
George Everhard Rhumphius (1628-1702), a German scientist, but a Dutch Citizen, specialized in Fauna and Flora. He had lived in Ambon from 1660 to 1670. He made a research in Hilla Village, Cape Leihituand lived next to Fort Amsterdam. One of his great works is a book entitled: HET AMBONSCH KRUIDBOEK (botanical book). In this book, he scientifically exposed the plants which he discovered in Maluku. Besides writing about Fauna and Flora, Rhumphius also wrote about the history of Maluku. His Residence was on the street known as Pattimura street. The monument was erected at the Xaverius Senior High school yard at Pattimura street.