Traditional temple

German President Steinmeier fascinated by Borobudur temple: official

Magelang, Central Java (ANTARA) – German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has been impressed with the Borobudur Temple in Magelang, Central Java, especially regarding the restoration efforts made by Indonesian experts in 1973 with computer technology at the time, a ministry official said.

“He was impressed. The temple was restored for 10 years by Indonesian experts with the existing computer technology in 1973 by dismantling all the stones in the temple before strengthening the structure and reassembling the stones,” said the director general of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research and Technology. Culture, Hilmar Farid, noted here on Friday.

Farid’s statement came after accompanying the German president’s visit to the UNESCO World Heritage site, which was closed to the media.

He explained that Borobudur is an ancient masterpiece because each stone that makes up the Buddhist temple fits in with neighboring stones and proves that the stones of the structure are not just stacked.

“We also inform him that innovations for temple conservation continue to be designed with local wisdom, such as by plants. He understands the harmful effects of chemical substances (if used in the conservation effort). It also commends the efforts made by the Borobudur Conservation Office,” remarked the Director General.

During his visit to the temple, Steinmeier climbed up to the central dome at the top of the temple, he noted, adding that the president enjoyed his visit.

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“He had been to Indonesia several times, but his visit to Borobudur was his first,” he noted.

Farid said the German President was also introduced to a traditional sandal, called an upanah, which must be worn before climbing into the temple structure to conserve the stones of the temple.

“Due to the limited time, he does not have the opportunity to open his shoe (and use the upanah), and he only brings the sandal as a souvenir. (By introducing the sandal), we have conveyed the message that (the sandal) is one of our initiatives to preserve the temple,” he remarked.

The German president also listened carefully to the explanations provided by officers of the Borobudur Conservation Office on the temple relief, which tells of the life of Gautama Buddha, he added.

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