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Sawahlunto is the oldest coal mining town in the Southeast Asia. Geographically and historically, Sawahlunto presents the architecture of the old city and incredible natural landscapes. Starting from the infrastructure of the Dutch Colonial Era, the architecture of the coal mining, to the natural beauty of the hill line
UNESCO has included the Ombilin coal mine in Sawahlunto, West Sumatra, in its World Heritage list.
Known as the oldest coal mine in Southeast Asia, Sawahlunto is nestled among the Polan, Pari and Mato hills. Here is everything you need to know about the historical site

Dutch geologist Willem Hendrik de Greve discovered significant coal mining potential on the edge of the Ombilin River in 1867.
The first mining activity was later conducted at Sungai Durian village before the Dutch government built a coal mining company in 1888.
Construction continued until 1891, according to the Culture and Education Ministry, and the company began operating in 1892 with an initial production of 47,833 tons. In fact, in 1930, coal production in Sawahlunto managed to fulfill 90 percent of the Dutch East Indies’ energy needs.
However, the coal mine’s glory started to decline when the Japanese arrived and took over Sawahlunto. But since Indonesia’s independence, it has been managed by the government.

Sawahlunto has various tourist destinations, such as the Ombilin Coal Mining Museum where visitors can learn about the history of the company, the tools that were used for mining and visit a former mining site that is has been transformed into a zoo, lake and horse-riding track.
Some parts of the Sawahlunto historical coal mining site have remained unchanged, including the Mbah Soero tunnel, workers’ dormitories and a place to filter coal.