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Not many people are aware that the Buton Palace Fortress is , in fact, considered to be the largest and most unique fortress in the world. Situated in the town of Bau bau, in Southeast Sulawesi Province, the fortress is listed in the Guiness Book of Records of September as the largest fortress in the world which was similarly acknowledged by the Indonesian Museum of Records (MURI). Encompassing a total area of 23.35 hectares, the fortress is a symbol of the glorious era of the Buton Islamic Kingdom that ruled over the area for over 4 centuries.
The Buton Palace Fortress, which was originally known as Wolio Palace, took the shape of the letter “dhal” in the Arabic alphabet, which is taken from the last letter of Prophet Muhammad's pbuh. With an average height of 4 meters and width or thickness of 2 meters, the battlements encircled a traditional Buton Village that covers an area of about 2,740 meters and continues to be preserved to this day of authentic old traditional houses.
The Buton Palace Fort is a legacy of the Buton Sultanate that was built in the 16th Century by the 3rd Sultan of Buton, named La Sangaji, who held the title Sultan Kaimuddin (1591-1596). The fortress was initially constructed as a brick fence to separate the palace complex from the houses of commoners. During the reign of Sultan Buton IV, called La Elangi or Sultan Dayanu Ikhsanudin, the simple fence was rebuilt into a more solid fortress.
The fortress has quite unique architectural features which was consteucted mainly of limestone. It has 12 entrances called Lawa, and 16 cannon emplacements called Baluara. Situated on the top of a relatively high hill, the fortress proved to have been an effective defense post during its era. One of its unique features is that it was constructed following the stacked stones design, bonded together using a mixture of chalk and eggwhite. This is the only building in the world where such substance was actually used for a fortress.
Inside the fortress is a mosque which was constructed in a manner similar to the fort itself. While, in front of the mosque stands a 33 meter high wooden flag pole estimated to be over 400 years old. Although it is made of wood, the flagpole does not look weathered and is still in perfect condition.
The town of Bau-bau on Buton Island can be reached in an hour's flight from the city of Kendari the capital of Southeast Sulawesi. There are also flights from Jakarta through Makassar, South Sulawesi. Express Air operates twice a day, while Wings Air operates daily.
Port Murhum serves as the city's and the island's, main access for transportation. Direct sea connections are available from Jakarta and Kendari. The following passenger ships of the Indonesian state-owned passenger ships company PT Pelni serve Bau-Bau: KM Bukit Siguntang, KM Ciremai, KM Dorolonda, KM Kelimutu, KM Sinabung, and KM Lambelu