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Jakarta :
A History

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Old Jakarta
(Images of Asia)

JAKARTA Travelling in Indonesia

Jakarta, the capital city of the Republic of Indonesia, is a special territory enjoying the status of a province, consisting of Greater Jakarta, covering an area of 637.44 square km. Located on the northern coast of West Java, it is the center of government, commerce and industry and as such has an extensive communications network with the rest of the country and the outside world. As Indonesia's main gateway, the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport serves a growing number of international airlines and domestic flights. Jakarta is a city of contrasts; the traditional and the modern, the rich and the poor, the sacral and the worldly, often stand side by side in this bustling metropolis. Even its population, gathered from all those diverse ethnic and cultural groups which compose Indonesia, are constantly juxtaposed as an ever- present reminder of the national motto; Unity in Diversity.

Finding its origin in the small early 16th century harbor town of Sunda Kelapa, Jakarta's founding is thought to have taken place on June 22, 1527, when it was re-named Jayakarta, meaning

Glorious Victory by the conquering Prince Fatahillah from neighboring Cirebon. The Dutch East Indies Company which captured the town and destroyed it in 1619, changed its name into Batavia and made it the center for the expansion of their power in the East Indies. Shortly after the outbreak of World War II, Batavia fell into the hands of the invading Japanese forces who changed the name of the city into Jakarta as a gesture aimed at winning the sympathy of the Indonesians.

The name was retained after Indonesia achieved national independence after the war's end.

The ethnic Jakartan called "Orang Betawi" speaks Betawi Malay, spoken as well in the surrounding towns such as Bekasi and Tangerang. This language has two variations: the conventional Betawi Malay and the modern Jakarta Malay. While the first is spoken by the elder people, born and bred in Jakarta, the second is spoken by the younger generation and migrants.

Jakarta's architecture reflects to a large extent the influx of outside influences which came and has remained in this vital seaport city. The Taman Fatahillah Restoration Project, begun in the early 1970s has restored one of the oldest sections of Jakarta also known as Old Batavia to approximately its original state.

The old Portuguese Church and warehouse have been rehabilitated into living museums. The old Supreme Court building is now a museum of fine arts which also houses part of the excellent Chinese porcelain collection of former Vice President Adam Malik. The old Town Hall has become the Jakarta Museum, displaying such rare items as Indonesia's old historical documents and Dutch period furniture.

Its tower clock was once returned to England to be repaired under its lifetime guarantee, which up to now has already lasted hundreds of years.

One of the most interesting tourist attractions is the "Beautiful Indonesia in Miniature Park" popularly called "Taman Mini". Built to portray the variety of cultures found within the many islands contained in the Republic of Indonesia, this open-air museum comprises the many architectural forms of arts and traditions of all 27 provinces. It is proof of the country's motto of Unity in Diversity as well as Freedom of Religion depicted in the houses of worship built on the grounds.

Jakarta has preserved its past and is developing for the future. Skyscrapers in the center of the city are part of a new look.

Modern luxury hotels today cater to the discriminating visitors. Transport within the city is plentiful. It should be noted that museums are open daily from 8.00 a.m. (except Mondays) till 2.00 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. On Fridays closing hour is 11.00 a.m. and on Saturdays at 1.00 p.m.


The National Monument

The National Monument, or "Monas" as it is popularly called, is one of the monuments built during the Sukarno era of fierce nationalism. It stands for the people's determination to achieve freedom and the crowning of their efforts in the Proclamation of Independence in August 1945. The 137-meter tall marble obelisk is topped with a flame coated with 35 kg. of gold. The base houses a historical museum and a hall for meditations. The monument is open to the public and upon request the lift can carry visitors to the top which offers a bird's eye view on the city and the sea.

Central Museum

Established in 1778 by U.M.C. Rademacher under the auspices of the Batavia Association of Arts and Sciences, it offers historical, prehistorical, archaeological and ethnographic aspects of Indonesia through its extensive collection of artifacts and relics which date as far back as to the Stone Age. It has one of the most complete collections of bronzes and ceramics dating back to the Han, Tang and Ming Dynasties. The Museum has one of the finest numismatic collections in the world, including cloth and money which was used on several islands until recently. The religious art section is filled with statuary and sculpture salvaged from sites of Hindu, Buddhist and Islamic edifices. Its collection of cultural instruments, household utensils, arts and crafts provide an introduction to the life of the various ethnic groups which populate Indonesia. This museum is popularly known as Gedung Gajah or "Elephant Building" because of the stone elephant offered by King Chulalongkorn of Thailand in 187 1, placed on the front lawn of the building.

Indonesia in Miniature Park

An extensive park to get a glimpse of the diverseness of the Indonesian archipelago, it represents Indonesia's 27 provinces and their outstanding characteristics, reflected most strikingly in the exact regional architecture of the province. It has its own orchid garden in which hundreds of Indonesian orchid varieties are grown. There is also a bird park with a walk-in aviary, a fauna museum and recreational grounds with a swimming pool and restaurants.

Of special interest here at Taman Mini is the Museum Indonesia. A richly decorated building in Balinese architecture, it houses contemporary arts, crafts and traditional costumes from the different regions of the country.

Open from 9.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. daily.

"Theater Imax Keong Emas" (Golden Snail Theater)

Located in the Taman Mini is the Imax theater which presents "Beautiful Indonesia" on a gigantic screen using the latest Imax system.

Open from 11.00 am - 5.00 pm.

Jaya Ancol Dreamland

This is Jakarta's largest and most popular recreation park. It is built on reclaimed beach land at the Bay of Jakarta, having, sea and freshwater aquariums, swimming pools, an artificial lagoon for fishing, boating, bowling, an assortment of nightclubs, restaurants, a steam-bath and massage parlors.

Daily shows are held at the Aquarium where dolphins and sea lions perform. The Ancol complex includes a Marina, Dunia Fantasi (Fantasy Land), a golf course, hotels and a drive-in theater. The "Pasar Seni" or art market has a varied collection of Indonesian handicraft, paintings and souvenirs on sale.

At a nearby open-air theater art performances are held using the local dialect.

Fantasy Land

A recent addition to Jakarta's growing recreation facilities is the Fantasy Land, a 9.5 hectares (23.75 acres) entertainment park located inside the Ancol Dreamland. Planned to eventually become a part of a 200-hectares (500-acres) park designed to usher the visitors into the fascinating world of modern science and technology, the present facility takes them on an imaginative tour of Old Jakarta, Africa, America, Indonesia, Europe, Asia and the Palace of Dolls. Each of the areas is designed to give the visitor a feel of the region he is visiting through features and architecture of the area at a certain period of its history and by the use of animated puppets in the Palace of Dolls.

The park also offers a number of restaurants and souvenir shops.

The Marina Jaya Ancol

This is a special port for yachts, motor and sail boats, the port of departure for Pulau Seribu and the scattered islands in the Bay of Jakarta. This is also the place for marine recreation and sports where each facility is amply provided; water cycles, canoes, sail boats, fishing gear and many others. Stalls along the beach serve drinks and snacks while tents are available for sunbathers and sea lovers.

Jalan Surabaya

This street is located in one of the city's better residential areas known for its flea market. Stalls offer a wide range of goods, some of them antiquities, including ornate lamps, porcelain, brass-ware, handicrafts, Bargaining is necessary, including the skill to distinguish authenticity from imitations.

Jakarta Museum

Completed in 1627, the building initially served as the Dutch East Indies Company's Town Hall. Additions and renovations including a stone gate, offices and renovations were added between 1705 and 1715. The known Indonesian hero, Diponegoro, was said to have been imprisoned in its dungeon before his exile to South Sulawesi.

The building was used as military barracks and offices when the Jakarta City Administration decided in the early 1970s to make it the focus of a restoration plan of old Batavia. Now a museum, it provides the historical background of Jakarta through displays of old maps and antiquities including furniture and porcelain used by the Dutch rulers of Batavia, plus a 16th century Portuguese cannon which stand across the cobblestone square.

Sunda Kelapa

Sunda Kelapa, better known as Pasar Ikan (meaning fish market) is located at the mouth of the Ciliwung river. It was formerly the harbor town of Sunda Kelapa where the Portuguese traded with the Hindu Kingdom of Pajajaran in the early 16th century.

The fish catch of the day was auctioned in the early morning at the old fish market. The street leading to it was lined with shops selling all sorts of shells, dehydrated turtles, lobsters and mostly everything the seafarer might need.

Dutch domination of Jakarta and the rest of Indonesia began from this area, whereas the remnants of Kasteel Batavia, an old fort and trading post of the Dutch East Indies Company can still be seen now. Sunda Kelapa is at present a fisherman's wharf and an interisland port. Tall masted Bugis schooners from South Sulawesi anchoring there offer a picturesque scene. They belong to one of the last-fleets of sail boats in the world and still ply the seas between the islands, as they did centuries ago, carrying merchandise.

T.I.M. Art Center

The focal point of cultural activities in Jakarta is the Jakarta Art Center, known as Taman Ismail Marzuki or TIM in short. It is said to be the largest of its kind in Southeast Asia and consists of exhibition halls, theaters, an academy of arts, an archives building and a planetarium. A monthly programme of events, available at hotel counters, includes exhibitions, plays, musical and poetry recitals, dance performances, folk art and drama from the various regions of Indonesia.

Pulau Seribu

This group of islands in the Jakarta Bay offers a haven away from the bustle of city life. There are golden beaches fringed with coconut palms. The surrounding waters are a paradise for skin divers. They are filled with a myriad of tropical fish which live among the multicolored corals. The islands can be reached from Tanjung Priok or Pasar Ikan (Sunda Kelapa) by ferry or by chartered boat. Some of the islands in this group developed for tourism are Pulau Bidadari, Pulau Ayer, Pulau Laki and Pulau Putri. Pulau Tanjung near Putri has an airstrip. There are cabins for hire, having fresh water on Pulau Air and Pulau Bidadari only. The Pulau Putri Paradise Co. has developed Pulau Putri, Pulau Melintang, Pulau Petondan and Pulau Papa Theo as a holiday resort with cottages, restaurants, diving and sailing facilities.

Contact addresses for visits to the islands

Pulau Putri, Pulau Pelangi, Pulau Perak, Pulau Melintang

PT. Pulau Seribu Paradise, Jl. KH. Wahid Hasyim 69, Jakarta. Phone: (021) 348533, 335535, Fax: (021) 344039

Pulau Petondan, Pulau Papa Theo

Jl. M.H. Thamrin Jakarta. Phone: (021) 320807, 320982

Pulau Bidadari

PT. Seabreeze, Marina Ancol Reservation. Phone: (021) 680048, 683173, 683996

Pulau Ayer

PT. Sarotama Bumi Perkasa, Jl. Ir. H. juanda 111/6, Jakarta 10120. Phone: (021) 342031, 370708, 683996

Pulau Kotok

Kalpataru Resort, Duta Merlin

Shopping Arcade

Phone: (021) 362948

Pulau Sepa

Thousand Island Resort and During Centre,

Jl. Kalibesar Barat

Phone: (021) 678828, 679885

Pulau Pantara (Pulau Hantu)

PT. Pantara Wisata jaya, Room 6/7 Hotel Borobudur Int, Jl. Lapangan Banteng Selatan, Jakarta. Phone: (021) 370108 Ext. 76085, 76086, Direct line: (021) 3805017,3808426, 3808427

Pulau Rambut, Pulau Bokor

P.H.P.A. Dinas Kehutanan DKI Jakarta,Jl. Rasuna Said, Kuningan, Jakarta. Phone: (021) 5201422

Taman Ria Remaja Senayan

Located at jalan Pintu VIII Senayan, this Park has a beautiful lake for boating, canoeing and boat cycling. Other facilities for children are among others mini cars, trains and a merry-go-round. Evening entertainment include live musical bands and popular local comedies.

Open daily from 4.00 pm - 10.00 pm, Saturday to midnight; Sundays and holidays from 08.00 am - 22.00 pm.

Ragunan Zoo

Jakarta's zoo is situated in the suburb of Ragunan in the southern part of the city. Laid out in a lush tropical setting, such indigenous animals as the Komodo lizard, tapir, anoa, Java tiger, banteng, wild ox and brightly colored birds are given ample room to be in this green foliage.

Open dally from 8.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. The zoological garden is most crowded on Sunday and public holidays.

The Wayang Museum

This puppetry museum on the western side of Taman Fatahillah in "The Old Town" area has displays of wayang puppets from all parts of Indonesia and some from other parts of Southeast Asia as well.

The wooden and leather puppets displayed here represent the finest craftsmanship in this particular form of traditional theater. The museum also shows shortened performances of the wayang kulit leather puppets every Sunday morning.

Bird Market (Pasar Burung)

If you are interested to buy tropical birds there is the pasar burung (Bird Market) at jalan Pramuka with its colorful and rich varieties of attractive, lovable birds highlighted by the unique "perkutut" song bird, the pride of the Javanese people.

Open daily from 9.00 am. It is advisable to go with an Indonesian speaking person for better communication.

Satria Mandala Museum

This central museum of the Armed Forces displays exhibits on progress in the development of the Indonesian Armed Forces, its role in the struggle for the nation's independence, and other military relics.

Open daily except Mondays.

Lubang Buaya Heroes Monument

Situated in the southeast of the city about 20 km from downtown, it is a memorial park dedicated to the six army generals and one army officer who were slain on October 1, 1965, in an abortive communist inspired coup d'etat. The centerpiece is the Pancasila Monument with statues of the seven heroes, standing near the old well in which their bodies were thrown after having been tortured and executed by communist militia squads.

Textile Museum

This museum displays various textiles from all over the country, from hand-woven cotton, silk and batiks, as well as, of ancient or contemporary productions.

Maritime Museum

Two warehouses are the only ones left, which were of the first trading post and port of the Dutch East Indies Company in Java. They now house the Maritime Museum. The old harbormaster's tower stands nearby.

Open from 8.00 a.m. till 2.00 p.m. on Tuesdays Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday. On Fridays closed at 11.00 a.m. and on Saturday at 1.00 p.m. It closes on Monday.

Museum Komodo

Built in the form of the Varanus Komodiensis (the only prehistoric giant lizard found exclusively on Indonesia's Komodo Island), it exhibits dioramas depicting the fauna of insects and wild animals. Located at Taman Mini and open daily from 8.00 - 15.00.

Portuguese Church

Situated in downtown Jakarta is the Portuguese Church, built between 1693 and 1696 for the Portuguese speaking people of Batavia. Although rather plain from the outside, its interior is quite impressive with its baroque pulpit and organ.

Parliament Building

This strikingly modern building on jalan Gatot Subroto is the parliament where at least once in every five years, the People's Consultative Assembly (the National Congress) holds its sessions. When not in session, visitors are allowed in but permission must be obtained in advance.

Perintis Kemerdekaan Building and the Soekarno - Hatta Monument.

Both are located at jalan Proklamasi 56, on the site of the former residence of the late President Soekarno where the nation's Independence was proclaimed. By the Perintis Kemerdekaan Building stands the Soekarno-Hatta Monument, in commemoration of the nation's first President and Vice President, who together proclaimed Independence on behalf of the Indonesian people.

Open daily from 8.00 a.m.

Orchid Gardens

Some of the most exotic orchids come from Indonesia. Several commercial orchid gardens are open to the public, the best known of them is located at Slipi and Taman Mini.


This village in southern Jakarta is a protected area where the old rural life style of Jakarta is preserved. Condet is also famed for its fruit orchards.

Museum Perangko

The Stamps Museum at Taman Mini has an attractive collection of stamps once issued in the country over the years. The museum is ideal for philatelists.

Open daily except Monday, from 08.00 - 15.00.

Indonesia Jaya Crocodile Park

This park in Pluit, North Jakarta has about 700 crocodiles of all sizes and ages. It offers regular shows, usually taking their themes from popular Indonesian folk tales.

Shopping Hints

Handicraft from all over Indonesia. Batiks, jewelry, electronic and photographic equipment, garments made to order and local herbal cosmetics.

Note: Picure of Traditional mask worn by native people of Jakarta at certain celebration