|The site of the Sanatorium building, turned into an empty land with a huge Beringin tree in the center. It could be the biggest Beringin tree in Semarang city.|
During my childhood in 1997, my family moved into Semarang. Our family occupied a house in Cinde Barat neighborhood. I lived in that neighborhood until 2000, the housing complex that used to be a chinese cemetery in the past and has a hilly contour. Sometimes in Sunday, together with my siters, we have a jogging to the highest place in the neighborhood that has a huge Beringin tree (eng: Weeping fig, latin: Ficus benjamina). Its even visible from the main street, and widely known as haunted place. There’s a big abandoned colonial building that attracted me surround the tree’s but due to the reputation as the haunted place, my sisters always prevented me to entering the building. In 2003, I entering the Junior High School in SMP Negeri 8 Semarang, in the foothill where this colossal trees is situated. I just got the answer from my friends in the school that the name of the building is Sanatorium. But then when I came back to visited it, only the right wings of the building remains, and its completely destroyed when I came to visit again in 2007.
|The Sanatorium photos around 1946-1948.|
(source: Nederlands Instituut voor Militaire Historie)
Long time ago before antibiotics for tuberculosis symptomps are founded, most of people in the world are feared with this kind of disease caused by microbacteria infections. Tuberculosis caused the most widespread public concern in the 19th and early 20th centuries as an endemic disease of the urban poor. Thus, there’s a facility named Sanatorium, to treated the people with tubercolusis and this also an effort to prevented the spreading of the infection among the people. There’s basic aspects that sanatorium have to fulfilled it, the fresh air. Most of the sanatorium are built in the remote areas, mostly in the hilly area. The combination of high altitude, fresh air, and good nutrition is believed to the basic needs for the patient with tubercolusis to get better condition.
Semarang, have its sanatorium in Karanganyar Gunung, the hilly area in the southern part of the city. Until now still there’s exact date when its built, but if we checked through the map archives of the KITLV (Koninklijk Instituut voor Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde), the sanatorium is still undepicted in the map until 1920’s. In my opinion, it could be the year its built is not so far from the another sanatorium in Salatiga, 1934, the only sanatorium remains in Central Java provinces, now turned into respiratory hospital called Rumah Sakit Paru dr. Ario Wirawan Salatiga. The building of Semarang Sanatorium is have been long abandoned since 1978, when the authority felt the location is not fit anymore as a sanatorium due to the pollution rate. The building then owned by leading Indonesian-based ceramics tableware, Sango. There’s a rumour among the people surround it that the owner planned to build the hotel in that place, so we’ll see is that tree are going survived? But, there’s a popular story also that no one’s able to cut down the trees, because once they do it they will suffer’s from illness until death. Beringin tree, moreover on that enormous size, always brings a lot of stories that hard to explained by logic.