Jakarta, Old Town (Jakarta, Kota Tua)
If you happen to visit Jakarta and has some interest on history of the city or into historical tourism then Kota Tua, Jakarta Old Town is definitely the place you should visit. Kota Tua spans 1.3 square kilometres, dubbed “The Jewel of Asia” and “Queen of the East” in the 16th century by European sailors, and well-known as Batavia in the 17th century.
Jakarta Old Town is the prototype of now metropolitan Jakarta. It was started from a small port at the mouth of Ciliwung River known as Sunda Kelapa, in 1526, Fatahillah, a Cirebon’s prince sent by Sultanate of Demak, invade this port then he change the name of the port to Jayakarta. This town is only 15 hectare in size and rendered in traditional Javanese coastal city. In 1619 VOC destroyed Jayakarta under the command of Jan Pieterzoon Coen. A year later VOC build a new town named “Batavia” to honor Batavieren, the Dutch ancestors. This city centered around east bank of Ciliwung river, around present day Fatahillah Square. In 1635 the city expanded towards west banks of Ciliwung, on the ruins of former Jayakarta. The city was designed in European Dutch style completed with fortress (Casteel Batavia), city wall, and canals. The city of Batavia was completed in 1650. It became the center of VOC in East Indies. The city later became the administrative center of colonial Dutch East Indies. In 1942 during the Japanese occupation, the name of the city changes to Jakarta, and now serves as the capital city of Indonesia. In 1972, the Governor of Jakarta Ali Sadikin issued a decree that officially made the Jakarta Kota area into a heritage site. The governor’s decision was necessary in order to preserve the city’s architectural roots — or at least what was left of it.
Kota Tua area has many old buildings that retains Dutch, European architecture style or Chinese and even some of them with combination of Dutch and Chinese architecture. Some of the old buildings at Kota Tua area used as museums by the governor of DKI Jakarta.
Interesting places you should see at Kota Tua, Jakarta are Jakarta History Museum (which is also called as Fatahillah Museum), Wayang Museum, Fine Art and Ceramic Museum, Bank Mandiri Museum, Bank Indonesia Museum, Jakarta Kota Station (is also called Beos), Maritime Museum (Museum Bahari), Sunda Kelapa Harbor, Kota Intan Bridge, Syahbandar Tower, Batavia Café, Batavia Hotel and other old buildings. It is best to visit this old town by morning to avoid the stinging heat of the sun.