Supriya Ghosh (Editor)

Jam Gadang

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Location  Bukittinggi
Province  West Sumatra
Beginning date  1926
Height  26 metres (85 ft)
Completion date  1926
Architect  Sutan Gigi Ameh
Jam Gadang httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommons99
Designer  Yazid Abidin, Sutan Gigi Ameh & Haji Moran
Dedicated to  Bukittinggi City Secretary
Similar  Ngarai Sianok, Lake Maninjau, Fort de Kock, Japanese Tunnel Bukittinggi, Lake Singkarak

Jam Gadang (Minangkabau for "Big Clock") is a clock tower and major landmark and tourist attraction in the city of Bukittinggi, West Sumatra, Indonesia. It is located in the centre of the city, near the main market, Pasar Ateh. It has large clocks on each face.


Map of Jam Gadang, Benteng Pasar Atas, Guguk Panjang, Bukittinggi City, West Sumatra, Indonesia


Jam Gadang is located in central Bukittinggi, a city in the Minangkabau Highlands of West Sumatra. It sits in the middle of the Sabai Nan Aluih Park, near the Ateh Market and palace of Mohammad Hatta. The structure was built in 1926, during the Dutch colonial era, as a gift from Queen Wilhelmina to the city's controleur. It was designed by architects Yazin and Sutan Gigi Ameh, reportedly at a cost of 3,000 guilder.

Originally a rooster figure was placed on the apex, but it was changed into a Jinja-like ornament during the Japanese occupation (1942–1945). Following Indonesian independence, the tower's top was reshaped to its present form, which resembles traditional Minang roofs (see Rumah gadang). Local oral tradition holds that the internal mechanisms of the clock are twin to those of Elizabeth Tower (Big Ben) in London.

On March 6, 2007, the Jam Gadang tower was damaged by two earthquakes that struck western Sumatra. Over the following years it was refurbished by the Indonesia Heritage Trust (Badan Pelestarian Pusaka Indonesia). Funding for the 600 million rupiah (approximately 55 thousand Euros) restoration came from the Netherlands. The refurbished tower was inaugurated on December 22, 2010, as part of Bukittinggi's 262nd anniversary celebrations.

The Jam Gadang tower has been as an observation posts during fires, such as one that affected the Ateh Market. During Ramadhan, the call to prayer that marks the breaking of the fast is sounded from the tower.

Clock structure and location

The tower has four clocks made in Rotterdam. Each clock face has a diameter of 80 centimetres (31 in). The tower's base is 13 by 4 metres (43 ft × 13 ft) and it stands 26 metres (85 ft) tall. The clocks use "IIII" for the number 4 instead of the traditional Roman number "IV". According to one local story, the four vertical lines represents the four workers who died while constructing the building. Another story suggests that the clocks used "IIII" to avoid rumors that "IV" stood for a Dutch victory.

The laying of the tower's cornerstone was done by the 6-year-old son of Rook Maker, the city secretary of Bukittinggi at the time.


The Jam Gadang tower is considered an icon of Bukittinggi and the city's main tourist attraction. Given its iconic appearance, the structure is a frequent object of local souvenirs. It is printed on apparel, painted, used as model for sculpting and magnet design, and so forth. It is common for tourists visiting Bukittinggi to take photographs in front of the tower, and local residents offer photography services for this purpose. Tourists visiting the tower were once allowed to climb to the top, but as of 2016 require written permission to do so.

Many hotels are located near Jam Gadang, as are traditional horse-drawn carriages called bendi. The Jam Gadang plaza has, since 2016, hosted traditional Minang dances for tourists. It also serves as the centre of New Year celebration in Bukittinggi.


Jam Gadang Wikipedia

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