There are at least five historic forts on the small island of Ternate, attesting to its erstwhile importance as a centre of the spice trade. We set off to see them all with a feeling of excitement but, in the end, it proved a rather disappointing experience. Some of them are sadly neglected, some of them are hopelessly overgrown and one of them has been over-zealously restored. The best of the five is undoubtedly Benteng Kalamata (Fort Kalamata). If you only visit one of these forts, Kalamata should be the one you check out.
The main thing it has going for it is the views. From this fort you can see right across the channel to neighbouring Tidore and its offshore volcanic cone. This sight is available from several places along this stretch of coast but Kalamata has one of the best. The second factor in its favour is that with its turrets, old stonework and antique cannons, it successfully evokes the island's past as a spice port. It has obviously been restored but unlike some of the other forts in the Malukus, the concrete has been used sparingly.
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