Each afernoon, Pak Pahot, Ibu Erna, Ibu Ana & one of the superintendents. would take us to see various obyek parawisata – places of interest to tourists- in Medan and each evening we accepted an invitation from a different staff member to visit their house for dinner. Our week in Medan was a whirlwind of activities, all thoroughly enjoyable. Here is our schedule as created by Pak Pahot first thing Monday morning, the only time that week when it felt that a week would be long enough to achieve our intended goals.
Enjoy this taste of Medan:
Istana Maimun – The Maimun Palace
The Istana was built from 1887 – 1891 for the Sultan and his family and they still live here today! It is a mixture of Malay, Spanish, Italian and Indian architecture.
Outside the palace was a place of significance and the source of a local legend. Apparently the brother of a past Sultan turned himself into a cannon during an important battle. During the battle, the cannon fired constantly, so much so, that the metal began to glow red hot and eventually split in half. The remaining section is housed in a small out building. There is a hole on the canon and we were all encourageed to put our ear to it. While Marg & I could hear the sea, Ibu Ana heard a river!!
The Medan Mesjid Raya – The main mosque in Medan
Built in 1906 and took only 3 years to build. While designed by a Saudi architect, the materials used in the build were sourced from all over the world and include Italian marble and German glass for the windows. From the back verandah of the mosque, we looked out over the various graves of past and present Sultan’s family members.
Pasar Medan – The Medan Market
In the heart of Medan is an enormous market divided into 2 sections. On one side is the older traditional market and on the other side, the more recently built addition. We only had time to briefly visit the older part and that was amazing.Definitely somewhere I could spend hours pottering around. We began by looking at the tables piled high with large bags of various items in bulk that could be used for oleh oleh (souvenirs) or as the thankyou gifts I’ve seen handed out to guests on their arrival at a wedding reception. There were fans, pens, purses and keyrings just to mention a few. We toyed with getting a bag of cute pens that folded up into a large capsule shape but in the end didn’t because nothing on the tables were specifically from Medan.
Here are the only 2 photos I took! Once I got engrossed, I forgot to take anymore! The first shows bowls of freshly made spice mixes. Thje idea of being able to buy the spices already measured and prepared appeals to me greatly. Imagine being able to buy spices for an Indonesian dinner party!! The second photo show the many different grades of small fish (ikan teri) available. The range in size was astounding.