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An Ageless City

Academics Argue Over the Actual Age of Baliís Capital City of Denpasar

(9/21/2012) Historians and archaeologists are busily trying to fix the founding year of Bali’s capital city of Denpasar.

The question of Denpasar’s “official” age continues to generate debate from the perspectives of historical evidence, legal documents and folklore - each with its own version on exactly when Bali was first established.

Experts contend that reaching a consensus on Denpasar’s founding date is needed to meet a shared desire to establish the capital as a cultural center - a status that requires a minimum age of 50 years.

However, the “official” age of Denpasar as determined by government decre is only 20 years.

A cultural study team from Udayana University has undertaken research at the National Archives in Jakarta and discovered a decree by the Minister of the Interior confirming an official age of 20 years for Denpasar linked to the city's designation as the provincial Capital for Bali in 1992.

Historians, however, claim Denpasar was actually founded in 1788, based on the age of a Palace named “Denpasar” dating from that year.

If the historians’ perspective is accepted, Denpasar becomes 224 year old and no longer be a youngster of 20.

Until a formal decision is rendered on Denpasar’s age, the official birthday of the capital is still tied to a Ministerial decree singed on February 27, 1992, that made Denpasar the capital of the then newly autonomous province of Bali.