It is not valid if we visit the City of Bukittinggi without seeing and perpetuating the building that became the symbol of this city, Jam Gadang. The Dutch East Indies era heritage building is identical to the city that was once the capital of the Province of West Sumatra.
Evidently, the journey of time for decades did not make this monument forgotten by residents of Bukittinggi. In fact, this clock tower continues to be their pride and emblazoned on various types of souvenirs typical of this city.
Jam Gadang was established by the Dutch East Indies Government at the behest of Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands. This hour is a gift for the secretary (controleur) of the City of Bukittinggi (Fort de Kock) who served at that time, HR Rookmaaker.
The construction of this clock tower building was built by an original Minangkabau architect, Jazid Rajo Mangkuto Sutan Gigi Ameh. Its construction was officially completed in 1926 by spending up to 3,000 guilders.
The Jam Gadang Monument stands 26 meters high in the middle of Sabai Nan Aluih Park, which is considered a benchmark for the central point (zero point) of the City of Bukittinggi. The construction does not use metal and cement frames, but uses a mixture of limestone, egg white, and sand.
The Clock Tower Building has 4 levels. The first level is the officer’s room, the second level is the pendulum pendat hour. While at the third level is the place of the clock machine and the fourth level is the top of the tower where the clock bell is placed. The bell at the top has the name of the hour machine manufacturer.
The gong-shaped roof on the top of the tower that we can now see is not the original form of the building in its early days. The initial design of the peak of the Gadang Clock is in a European style, with a statue of a rooster at the top.
Entering the era of Japanese occupation, the roof of the Gadang Clock was changed to follow the Japanese architectural style. When the independence era arrived, the roof was overhauled back into the shape of a bagonjong roof which is a characteristic of Minangkabau native building architecture.
The clock machine used in this monument is a rare item that only produced two units by the Vortmann Recklinghausen factory, Germany. The second unit of its type until now is still used in the legendary City Tower of London, England, namely Big Ben.
The system that works in it moves the clock mechanically through two large pendants that balance each other. The system makes this clock continue to function for years without any energy source.
The machine on the third floor moves the clock facing the four corners of the wind. The diameter of each clockwise rotation area is 80 centimeters.
The entire number of hours is made using the Roman numbering system, but the number four is written in a way that is out of the ordinary, namely with four letters ‘I’ (IIII) and not with the words ‘IV’. This has become one of the attractions that creates curiosity for tourists visiting this city. [Ardee/IndonesiaKaya]