“Sumutrah is a large and beautiful city, surrounded by fortresses and towers made of wood” —Ibnu Bathuthah 14 AD, Maghrib (Morocco).
The intended city is the core area of Samudra Pasai, now Samudra District, North Aceh Regency.
Maybe the city is trying to be as grand as the past, there are two buildings in the middle of a meadow, which are crowded by cattle. Its access is through a ridgeway road next to a resident’s house. One of the buildings (Samudra Pasai Museum) has been completed and fenced. The other one, the mosque – which from a distance has a towering tower – is seen because it passes through the residents’ housing. After getting closer, the mosque was apparently surrounded by shrubs. The building is really big, these three floors below look unfinished.
Fortunately, I got a contact from someone, who happened to be working at the museum, he said he was also taking care of things for (finally) the museum, which was inaugurated on 10 July 2019. So, I was able to enter, some areas are dark, and some areas that the keys were not found. However, according to information in the museum booklet, there are 340 collections of Ethnographic, Philological, Numismatic, and Historical. (The museum was built in 2011 with a special autonomy fund of Rp 7.5 Billion, it is reported that it has been inaugurated several times since 2017. It is said, it was hampered because it needed funds to build a road of total Rp 8.6 Billion).
Apart from the drama of the new building, I asked about the legacy of the old building. Is there a fort or remnants of this magnificent civilization that was excavated. The mister who opened the museum’s door to me said: “Once when a resident wanted to build a house, they dug up, they accidentally found a wall in the ground, but now it has been piled up again.”