Jam Gadang, a Landmark Full of Curiosities


There is an iconic clock tower standing in the center of Bukittinggi, a town in West Sumatera. Jam Gadang (Big Clock in local language) has become an icon. Not only for Bukittinggi, but also for the whole province. It also has become a popular tourist attraction in the city.

The clock tower. via Instagram/minangvlogofficial

Jam Gadang is an old tower, almost a century old. This is one of the few colonial building still exist until today. Over time, the tower has been refurbished and developed further to make it even more appealing to tourists. Here are several facts you need to know about Jam Gadang.


The tower is located in a park. via Instagram/pakindro

Simply put, Jam Gadang is located dead in the center of Bukittinggi. Officially, the address of the clock is at Jl. Raya Bukittinggi, Benteng Pasar Atas, Guguk Panjang, Bukittinggi, West Sumatera. This tower is located at Sabai Nan Aluih Park and surrounded by several important landmarks in Bukittinggi such as Pasar Atas, Pasar Bawah, Plaza Bukittinggi, and Bung Hatta Palace.


The tower has seen lots of improvements. vai Instagram/manuk_art7

Jam Gadang has an interesting history. The tower was built in 1926, during the Dutch colonial era. In fact, this clock tower is a gift from Queen Wilhelmina to Bukittinggi’s Controleur. The tower was designed by local architects; Sutan Gigi Ameh and Yazin and cost three thousand guilder. The apex of the tower has been changed a couple of times. Initially, it was a rooster, then jinja during the Japanese occupation and then the Minang roof we can see today.

Water and Light Display

Water and colorful lighting display. via Instagram/robert.frnds

Jam Gadang is subject to constant renovation, sometimes for repairing some damages, sometimes for developing it into a more attractive place. The latest improvement is the addition of water fountain and lighting display in the park area. This improvement makes Jam Gadang a great place to visit at night. There is spectacular water and lighting display that you can enjoy in the park.

Instagenic spots

There are lots of instagenic spots. via Instagram/nellykurniawati9

The latest improvements that finished in early 2019 also make this place even more photogenic. There are many places ideal to take some photos, especially during the daylights. The main attraction is definitely still the tower itself, but the park has become more colorful. You can also find many tree-shaped lamp posts that are so unique.

Curiosities and unique features

There are lots of curiosities here. via Instagram/dahniel_bukittinggi

Many people consider Jam Gadang as the sister of another legendary clock tower; Big Ben in London because the mechanical part of the clock is similar. The tower has four clocks that were made by Bernard Vortmann in Germany. The number 4 in this clock is using ‘IIII’ instead of IV. Locals have many stories about that.

The apex of the tower. via Instagram/pakindro

Technically speaking, Jam Gadang is not an amazingly magnificent building. However, this tower has become an icon of Bukittinggi and West Sumatera to the point that they make lots of souvenirs depicting it. At this place, you can have a history of tourism as well as an instagramable one.

Bukittinggi Jam Gadang