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Jakarta, formerly Batavia, is the capital and largest city of Indonesia. The Jakarta Special Capital Area covers an area of 740.28 square kilometers. Jakarta is located on the northwest coast of Java and according to the 2010 census, the city has a population of 9,580,000. The special capital area has 28,020,000 inhabitants. The city is the country's economic, cultural and political center. It is the most populous city in Indonesia and the tenth largest city in the world.

Jakarta Skyline Jakarta SkylinePhoto: Yohanes budiyanto CC 2.0 Generic no changes made

The city was founded in the 4th century and became an important trading port for the Kingdom of Sunda. It was called Batavia and the capital of the Dutch East Indies. Indonesia's independence was declared in 1945, Jakarta became the capital of the state of Indonesia.

Hotels Jakarta


The coordinates of Jakarta are: 6° 12' South latitude and 106° 48' East longitude. Jakarta is located at the mouth of the Ciliwung in Jakarta Bay, an inlet of the Java Sea about 7 meters above sea level, in a low, flat basin. The northern parts of the city are below sea level, the southern parts are relatively hilly. Rivers flow from the highlands to the Java Sea. The Ciliwung divides the city into western and eastern quarters. Other rivers are the Pesanggrahan and the Sunter. A canal with construction started in 2003 will link five rivers.

Jakarta Floods in 2013Jakarta Floods in 2013Photo: Public domain

Jakarta suffers from frequent flooding of the rivers and the ground subsides about 5 to 10 centimeters per year. A project to build a dike construction to regulate and control seawater will be carried out with the help of a Dutch donation of $ 4,000,000. The project should be completed by 2025. The Thousand Islands, which are administratively part of Jakarta, are located in Jakarta Bay to the north of the city.


Jakarta has a warm and humid tropical climate. Despite its location relatively close to the equator, the city has distinct wet and dry seasons. The wet season lasts from November to June, the other four months are the dry season. The average high temperature is 31.8 °C, the average low temperature is 25.0 °C. The annual precipitation is 1,655 mm. The average number of rainy days is 168 per year.


Jakarta Tarumanagara Culture Jakarta Tarumanagara CulturePhoto: Bkusmono in the public domain

In the 4th century, the site of modern-day Jakarta was part of the Sundanese kingdom of Tarumanagara, one of the oldest Hindu kingdoms in Indonesia. With the demise of Tarumanagara, Jakarta became part of the Kingdom of Sunda. The port area became known as Sunda Kelapa and by the 14th century it was an important trading port for the Sunda kingdom.

Searching for a spice trade route, the Portuguese were the first Europeans to land with four ships in 1513. They made a treaty with the Kingdom of Sunda. They built a harbor in 1522 against the threat to the kingdom from the Sultanate of Demak of central Java. In 1602 the English East India Company was allowed to build a trading post. This post became the center of English trade in Indonesia until 1682.

Jakarta around 1780 Jakarta around 1780Photo: Public domain

Dutch troops attacked the trading post and burned the English fort, forcing the English to retreat to their ships. The victory confirmed the Dutch power and in 1619 they renamed the city Batavia. In 1930 Batavia had more than 500,000 inhabitants, including 37,067 Europeans.

Flag of independent Indonesia is hoisted in Jakarta Flag of independent Indonesia is hoisted in Jakarta Photo:Frans Mendur in the public domain

In 1942, the city was renamed from Batavia to Jakarta during the Second World War. The Indonesian nationalists, supported by the Japanese armed forces, captured the city from the Dutch. At the end of the war, the Indonesian Republicans withdrew from Jakarta and established their capital in Yogyakarta. In 1950, after the police actions, independence was declared and Jakarta was again given the status of national capital. Under Sukarno, the first president of independent Indonesia, Jakarta grew into a major international city. In 1966, Jakarta was granted the status of "special capital district". This status is roughly equivalent to that of a state or province.


Jakarta is a popular tourist destination, especially the old part of the city with a rich cultural heritage and historical sites. There are also plenty of interesting places outside the city center. Luxurious hotels, excellent restaurants and plenty of entertainment attract both domestic and foreign tourists.

National Monument at Merdeka Square in Jakarta - Photo: Sakurai MidoriNational Monument at the Merdeka Square in JakartaPhoto: Gunawan Kartapranata CC 3.0 no changes made

The National Monument is located in the center of Merdeka Square, the central park of the city. This striking monument (known locally as "Monas") is the best known landmark in Jakarta. At the top, a massive flame-shaped ornament of solid gold crowns high above the obelisk. The monument is a tribute to Indonesian independence and hard to miss, dominating much of the square. Near the national monument, there is the Arjuna Wijaya statue and a fountain inspired by a poem by Mahabharata.

Istiqlal Mosque in Jakarta Istiqlal Mosque in JakartaPhoto: Public domain

Another place of interest is the Istiqlal Mosque. This beautiful mosque is the largest in all of Southeast Asia. The mosque was built to commemorate the independence of the Netherlands in the mid-20th century. This majestic monument has minimalist decorative accents and is reminiscent of mosques in Arab countries.

Historical Museum in JakartaHistorical Museum in JakartaPhoto: Edi wibowo CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

Jakarta's old town contains many museums, often former institutional buildings of colonial Batavia. The Jakarta Historical Museum (the former city hall of Batavia) is also called the Fatahillah museum. It houses an extensive collection of materials and objects related to the development of the city. The collection extends from prehistoric times to modern times. You will see colonial weapons and furniture, inscriptions from the time of King Purnawarman and Dutch maps from the 16th century.

Wayang Museum in Jakarta Wayang Museum in JakartaPhoto: Masgatotkaca CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

The Wayang Museum (a former church of Batavia) is dedicated to preserving the 'wayang' tradition, this ever-popular museum is especially appealing to families with children. Marionettes from historical depictions can be seen here. You also see dolls from other countries in Asia. The building also still has remains of former collection, including memorials of Dutch officials.

Maritime Museum in Jakarta Maritime Museum in JakartaPhoto: Akhmad Fauzi CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

The Maritime Museum is located in the former Sunda Kelapa warehouse. The collection covers the history of seafaring in the archipelago and one of the most special exhibits is a collection of weathered photos from a journey from Europe to Jakarta. There are two interesting sights outside the Museum Bahari, which are sections of the city's old walls and a 19th century watchtower. The latter is open to visitors, and offers a panoramic view of the city.

Arts and Ceramics Museum in Jakarta Arts and Ceramics Museum in Jakarta Photo: 22Kartika CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

The Art and Ceramics Museum is located in the former courthouse of Justice of Batavia. It is often better known as the Balai Seni Rupa and was built in the late 19th century. Many impressive Indonesian paintings are exhibited here, both historical and modern. There are especially many landscapes to see. Also of interest is contemporary ceramics, which provides a special section. There are also works that once belonged to the former Vice President of Indonesia, Adam Malik (1917-1984).


Sarinah Department Store in JakartaSarinah Department Store in JakartaPhoto: Andrew Kippen CC 2.0 Generic no changes made

Numerous visitors come to Jakarta for shopping. The city is known for its cheap products of reasonable quality, especially textiles, crafts and fashion products. There are 68 shopping centers and traditional markets all over the city. Dyed textiles known as 'batik' can be purchased all over Jakarta. The Pasaraya department store on Jalan Iskandarsya and the Sarinah department store on Jalan Thamrin are good places to buy a nice piece of batik.

Presidential Palace in Bogor near Jakarta Presidential Palace in Bogor near JakartaPhoto: Davidelit in the public domain

There are many good reasons to visit Bogor. The city has an exceptional Botanical Garden (Kebun Raya Bogor), an Orchid Garden (Rumah Anggrek) and a beautiful Presidential Palace (Istana Bogor). On a sunny day the walking paths along the canals and rivers are very attractive, the golfers will enjoy playing a round at either of Bogor's Golf Clubs.

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Last updated May 2024
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