Jakarta, formerly (until 1949) BATAVIA, or (1949-72) DJAKARTA is the largest city and the
capital of the Republic of Indonesia.
Located at the mouth of the Ciliwung (Liwung River) on the northwestern
coast of the island of Java, the city is coextensive with the metropolitan district of
Jakarta Raya and in 1966 was designated a special capital region (daerah khusus ibukota),
a status approximating that of a state or province.
Jakarta occupies a low, flat alluvial plain that is easily flooded during
the rainy season. Its tropical climate is characterized by high temperatures (between 28
and 33° C) and rainfall, together producing oppressive humidity that averages between 75
and 85 percent.
Jakarta has undergone tremendous growth and development since Indonesia reached
independence in 1949. As the national capital and the chief centre of state planning, the
city contains government ministries that are economically significant. It is also a major
centre for trade: north-east of the city, Tanjungpriok, the largest port in Indonesia,
handles exports from western Java and imports, many of which are transshipped to other
Banking and commerce remain concentrated in the city centre, while new housing and
industrial development are concentrated on the city's outskirts. Jakarta's manufacturing
sector is minor compared to the city's service and trade functions. The chief industrial
establishments are iron foundries, margarine and soap factories, and breweries.
A mixture of Western and Oriental architectural styles is everywhere
apparent in Jakarta. The large public squares, such as Medan Merdeka (Freedom Field) and
Lapangan Banteng (Place of the Gaur), are British and Dutch in character, whereas the
Oriental style is evident in the city's types of houses, the wide, tree-lined streets, and
the spacious gardens and house lots. The kampong (village) house, often built from wood or
bamboo mats, is found in large concentrations throughout the city. Kampongs are often
substandard, and housing in the city is generally overcrowded.
Traffic jams occur during morning and evening rush hours, and the becak (two-passenger
tricycle taxi) is still common in local neighbourhoods.
Large, modern stores in the main shopping areas (Blok M) contrast with
the colourful markets and open-air shops.
Kota, or Old City, remains the central business district and the
financial capital of Indonesia. It also contains several buildings from the colonial
period, notably the Old Portuguese Church and the old city hall, now a museum.
The present city centre, north of Medan Merdeka, is the Presidential
Palace, also dating from colonial times, and the National Monument,
which, at 360 feet (110 m), is one of the highest structures in Jakarta.
The nearby Istiqlal Mosque was designed to be the largest in Indonesia.
Sunda Kelapa - Pasar Ikan
Jakarta's cultural life is greatly enhanced by its many institutions of
higher education. The largest and best-known is the Universitas Indonesia. Jakarta is an
important centre for newspaper publishing, and the national radio and television networks
broadcast programs from the city. Traditional arts, such as wayang dance and dramas,
gamelan music, and wayang puppetry, are presented at the annual Jakarta Fair and at the Taman
Ismail Marzuki centre.