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Timor-Leste: Maubara fortress

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Maubara fortress | Timor-Leste | Asia

[Visited: November 2014]

The borders are clear in our days: the western part of Timor is Indonesian, and the eastern part is one of the newest countries on the planet: East Timor. More than half a century ago, the island was divided between two colonial powers from Europe, where the Netherlands was in charge of the west, and Portugal of the east. But there were small enclaves and kingdoms on both sides, and Maubara was one of them. When we drive through the coastal village, we are looking for a fortress, but before we know it, we have left Maubara without seeing it.

Picture of Maubara fortress (Timor-Leste): The fortress of Maubara, resembling a walled park with trees

So we turn around, and ask two police officers who, for a second, look a little confused, but then point ahead. Indeed, the concrete wall covered by trees we have seen before, turns out to be the oldest building of the village. It is assumed the Dutch built it in 1756, in bricks; the current structure is not the original building. The region here was once the scene of numerous battles - not just between the Dutch and the Portuguese; local kings were fighting the foreign colonial powers, too. The Portuguese governor swapped the islands of Flores and Solor for the Maubara kingdom in 1851.

Picture of Maubara fortress (Timor-Leste): Cannon on the wall of the fortress of Maubara

The doors at the back are closed, but we push them open, and enter the courtyard. No fancy fortress here with ramparts to be explored, but a square building with an open space, where a newer building is built for administration, and several old, big trees ensure that the entire courtyard is permanently shaded. It looks like a small park. At the northern side of the fortress, you can climb the wall, and in the two corners, rusty cannons point towards the sea, to an enemy that will not come anymore. When we walk out of the front gate, a group of goats is grazing the grass, and on the other side of the road, stalls with handicrafts are being opened.

Picture of Maubara fortress (Timor-Leste): The back of the fortress with entrance gate
Picture of Maubara fortress (Timor-Leste): The inside of the fortress has trees, shade, and places to relax
Picture of Maubara fortress (Timor-Leste): Fortress of Maubara with goat next to it
Picture of Maubara fortress (Timor-Leste): Cannon pointing at the sea on the walls of the fortress
Picture of Maubara fortress (Timor-Leste): In this entrance gate, you can still see the colonial architectural details

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