An Indonesian hamlet dubbed 'the rainbow village' after being given a makeover in a kaleidoscope of colors is attracting hordes of visitors and has become an internet sensation.
The collection of about 200 modest homes on a hillside above a river used to be a typical, low-income Indonesian neighbourhood that was filthy and gloomy. But residents of the Wonosari community in Semarang decided an extreme makeover was needed, and received money from the local government and several companies to carry out the project.
The houses were re-painted in a dizzying array of colors during a month-long overhaul which cost about $200,000, and the polluted river nearby was also cleaned up. The local mayor opened the newly decorated hamlet on Java island to the public in mid-April and the community quickly became a local landmark known as "Kampung Pelangi" (rainbow village).
The buildings - many of which are decorated with art such as pictures of angels' wings and whales - can be seen for miles around, climbing up the hillside like a gigantic staircase. The multi-colored paint job for the village is the brainchild of Slamet Widodo, a 54-year-old high-school teacher. "In the future it will bring benefits to our community, especially economic empowerment. The project will be supported by the activity and creativity (of the people) in the village so the local community has a sense of belonging," said Widodo, who was inspired by similar projects in other parts of Indonesia.
Domestic and foreign visitors have been flocking to the village to snap pictures, which have been rapidly spreading on Instagram and Facebook. "This is very special, extremely creative," Maya Susanti, an Indonesian visitor who came to the village with her friends told. "The village used to look plain but now there are so many good spots for taking pictures."
Community leader Yosep Tri Prawoko added: "Every single alleyway has become a favorite spot for a photoshoot, it's great." Villagers are enjoying the tourism boom sparked by the makeover. Surani, a local flower seller who like many Indonesians goes by one name, said local people were feeling the benefits: "I hope our livelihoods keep on getting better." The makeover and flow of visitors has also encouraged residents to keep the community clean, and rubbish bins have been put up around the hamlet.
is/at (with afp, rtr)