Rumoh Aceh, The Aceh Traditional House

aceh traditional house

Aceh is a province located on the northern tip of the island of Sumatra. This province is known as Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam which is famous for its Islamic Sharia.

Aceh is closely related to Islamic culture because Aceh was once one of the entrances to the spread of Islam in Indonesia. Therefore, Acehnese culture is often created by a mixture of Malay culture and Islamic culture. One proof of acculturation of the two cultures is the traditional house of Aceh or Aceh Rumoh “Rumah Krong Bade”.

History of Aceh Traditional House

At present Aceh, houses are increasingly rare, but these Aceh traditional houses can be found in the Aceh Museum complex in Aceh’s Banda Aceh City and in the Beautiful Indonesia Miniature Park (TMII) in Jakarta and Cut Nyak Dhien’s House in Lampisang Village, 10 km from the center of the City Banda Aceh.

When visiting the Aceh house which is located in the Aceh Museum complex, we can also find items that are often used by Acehnese people, among others, pedeung on seat, jingki, urn, berandam or a place to store rice and so on. The hallmark of Aceh’s traditional house consists of 44 poles and has 2 front and back stairs.

Form of Aceh Traditional House

In general, Aceh’s traditional houses are on stilts with a pole height of 2.50-3 meters. The shape of Aceh houses is also the same between one and the other, which is a rectangle that extends from east to west. That said, the elongated shape was chosen to facilitate the determination of the direction of Qibla prayer.

Usually, traditional Acehnese houses are made of wood and thatched with thatched leaves. The interior of the Aceh rumoh has three or five rooms with one main room called Rambat. A house with three rooms usually has 16 poles while a house with five rooms has 24 poles.

The height of the main door of Rumoh Aceh is always made lower than adults, usually the height of the door is only 120-150 cm. So everyone who enters Rumoh Aceh must bow.

Despite having a short door, but the inside is broad when entering. There is no furniture such as sofa chairs and tables. Guests usually sit on a mat provided by the homeowner.

Rich Acehnese houses will have intricate carvings and ornaments. Whereas in ordinary people, Aceh houses should be made on stilts without any carvings and ornaments. Aceh’s traditional house is also able to resist earthquakes and floods.


Parts of Aceh Traditional House

Rumoh Aceh in each district or city has different details, but in general has the same main components. The following components or parts of Aceh houses consist of:

Seuramoe ukeu (Front Porch)

Seuramoe-ukeu is a room that serves to receive male guests, but also as a bed and a place for male guests to have a meal. The location of this room is in the front of the house.


Seuramoe likoot (Back Porch)

Seuramoe-likoot is a room that serves to receive female guests, as well as a bed and dining room for female guests. The location of this room is in the back of the house.


Inong House (Main House)

The location of this room is between the front porch and the back porch. The position of this room is also higher and is divided into two chambers, both separated by aisles that connect the front porch and back porches.


Rumoh Dapu (Kitchen)

The location of the kitchen is near or connected to the back porch. The kitchen floor is slightly lower than the back porch floor.


Seulasa (Terrace)

Seulasa or terrace of the house is at the very front of the house. Its location is attached to the front porch. The location of this terrace has been determined since ancient times and has not changed until now.


Kroong-padee (Rice Barns)

The majority of Acehnese work as farmers. Thus, the Acehnese people provided rice barns that were separated from the main building. Although separated, this rice barn is still located in the yard of the house. Its location can also be behind, on the side, or even in front of the house.


Keupaleh (Gate)

Usually gates are not very common in Aceh traditional houses. Usually, the gate is owned by people or community leaders. The gate is usually made of wood and has a booth over it.


Tamee (Pole)

Pillars are the most important component that must be owned by traditional Acehnese houses. The strength of this pole is the main foundation of this traditional house. This pole is round with a diameter of 20-35 cm and as high as 150-170 cm.

The number of poles can be 16, 20, 24, or 28 sticks. The existence of these poles serves to facilitate the process of moving a house without having to laboriously dismantle it.


Typical Characteristics of Aceh Traditional Houses

The following are the characteristics or characteristics of Aceh traditional houses or Rumoh Aceh, including:

  • Have a water barrel in the front for a place to clean the feet of those who will enter the house. This has a philosophy that every guest who comes must have good intentions.
  • The structure of the stage house serves as a protection for family members from wild animal attacks.
  • Having an odd number of steps, this is a symbol of the religious nature of the Acehnese people.
  • Has many carvings and paintings on the wall of the house; this indicates that the people of Aceh are people who love beauty.
  • Rectangular and stretching from west to east; this indicates that the people of Aceh are religious.

Stages of Building Aceh’s Traditional Houses

Although made of wood, Rumoh Aceh can last for hundreds of years. The following are the stages of making Aceh rumoh, including:


Preliminary deliberations

Before making a house, a family meeting is usually held, after an agreement is made, the results of the planning are conveyed to the Teungku (ulama). The purpose of telling teungku is to get advice so that the house becomes more calm and peaceful.

In addition, there is a discussion about the requirements that must be carried out in the form of the selection of good days determined by Teungku, procurement of selected wood, festivity (parties) and so on.


Material Procurement

After reaching consensus, then material procurement is carried out. Materials needed to make Aceh rumoh include wood, trieng (bamboo), sago palm leaves, and others.

Provision of this material is carried out cooperatively by the local community. Usually the wood chosen is wood that has no roots and does not involve other wood when it is felled.


Material Processing

Then the wood is collected in a shady place and not exposed to rain. If the construction time is still long, the wood will be soaked in water first. The goal is that the wood is not eaten by insects. After that, wood is formed according to the needs of the house.


House Establishment

After everything is ready, the process of building houses in Aceh begins. The initial construction of the Aceh Traditional House was marked by the construction of a platform for paving timber.

The first wood to be planted is the main pole (the king’s pole) then followed by the other pillars. After all the poles are installed, proceed with the making of the center of the house.

The center of the house includes the floor of the house and the walls of the house. Next, the making of the top which ends with the installation of the roof of the house. The last part of the construction of Rumah Aceh is the installation of supporting ornaments such as decorative carvings and so on.


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JC. Princen

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