Tour of Siak Sri Indrapura Palace
Sites of historic and cultural remains are always a tourist draw. Riau also has many well-preserved historical sites whose original buildings are still intact. One of these is Istana Siak (Siak Palace), a historic site of a Malay kingdom that once ruled over the whole of present-day Riau. Istana Siak Sri Indrapura was built by a German architect in 1889 during the reign of Sultan Syarif Hasyim. The palace remains intact to this day, and is frequently visited by tourists.
As one enters through the main entrance, one is greeted by a door adorned with reliefs depicting a pair of soaring, sharp-eyed eagles. Inside the palace there is a valuable collection of historic antiques, including the Sultan’s golden throne.
One such collection features a musical instrument known as “komet” and made by a German acoustics expert. It has a steel plate and an exquisite sound, and is one of only two examples of the instrument left in the world today. According to a palace guard, the instrument was played for the Sultan during meal times and when entertaining guests. It doesn’t use electricity, but harnesses the kinetic energy produced by the rotating disc, and has to be first cranked by hand. The holed steel plate acts like a record, storing the song to be played. The instrument itself sounds a bit like a piano. In order to preserve it, the instrument is only brought out and played on rare occasions.
Another room displays tables and chairs made out of wood, crystal and glass arranged beneath colourful crystal lamps hanging from the ceiling, a number of wardrobes, and a collection of weapons made from copper and steel. In addition there is a collection of gifts to the Sultan from friends and neighbouring regions.
The people of the Siak kingdom in contemporary times are featured in a series of large-size photographs. There is also a mirror owned by the Sultan’s consort and known as Ratu Agung, which when frequently used makes the user’s face appear fresh and eternally youthful.
Also of interest from among the collection of historic items in the palace is the Sultan’s personal black steel wardrobe. The wardrobe is more than a meter wide, and resembles a modern safe. Amazingly, not a single person, even numerous skilled locksmiths, has been able to open the wardrobe.
It is not known what the wardrobe contains, perhaps because the sense of respect for privacy surrounding the Sultan’s personal effects meant that palace guards never opened the wardrobe – and now no longer know how to.
Visitors are allowed to take any photos they wish inside the palace. There are numerous other artifacts and historic items from the kingdom, making it a fascinating source of knowledge. Istana Siak is located Siak regency, about 3-4 hours’ drive from Pekanbaru.
( original story and photo credit from wisatapekanbaru.com )