Ambon To Promote Merah Putih Bridge As National Tourism Icon

Ambon To Promote Merah Putih Bridge As National Tourism Icon

Document - Merah Putih Bridge in Ambon (Izaac Mulyawan)

Ambon, Maluku, Aug 12 (Antara) - The upcoming cultural festival along the Merah Putih Bridge in the Maluku provincial city of Ambon on August 19, 2017, aims to promote the bridge as a national tourism icon.

"To be called Festival Jembatan Merah Putih (FJMP), the event will be part of an annual agenda to not only promote Merah Putih as a connecting bridge between the areas of Galala and Rumah Tiga across Ambon Bay but also as a national tourism icon," Chairman of the festival`s Organizing Committee Ikhsan Tualeka remarked here on Friday.

He stated that the festival will be held in conjunction with the anniversary of Maluku Province along the Merah Putih Bridge, built in July 2011 and inaugurated in April 2016.

Stretching 1,140 meters, with a width of 225 meters, Merah Putih above the Ambon Bay is the longest bridge in the eastern region of Indonesia and is an icon of Ambon City.

Merah Putih is a cable bridge that spans over Ambon Bay and reduces travel time between the Pattimura Airport on the Lei Hitu Peninsula in the north and downtown Ambon City on the Lei Timur Peninsula in the south.

In the past, before the bridge was constructed, it took more than an hour`s drive from the Ambon city center to the Pattimura International Airport around Ambon Bay, but after the Merah Putih Bridge was built, the travel time is now less than 30 minutes.

The bridge is named after Merah Putih, the national Red and White flag, though in fact, there is another reason behind the naming of the bridge.

During the sectarian conflict in Maluku between 1999 and 2002, the Christian group was called the "red group," while the Muslim group was referred to as the "white group."

Hence, the bridge is named after Merah Putih, or Red and White, as a symbol of peace, unity, and solidarity among people of all religions in Maluku Province.