Jakarta's Historical Buildings I, Jakarta

Jakarta's Historical Buildings I (Self Guided), Jakarta

Jakarta is an old city that has seen a lot of change over the course of its 1,700-year history. Today you can see a lot of fascinating buildings and other sites that show the imprint history had on the city, particularly by British and Dutch colonization. Historic places of worship also pay testament to the popularity of Buddhism and Confucianism over the course of time. Take our two-part tour to discover the most important historic sites in Jakarta.
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Jakarta's Historical Buildings I Map

Guide Name: Jakarta's Historical Buildings I
Guide Location: Indonesia » Jakarta (See other walking tours in Jakarta)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 6
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.6 Km or 1.6 Miles
Author: jenny
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Istana Merdeka (Presidential Palace)
  • Istana Negara (State Palace)
  • Istiqlal Mosque
  • Gereja Katedral (Cathedral Church)
  • Irian Jaya Liberation Monument
  • Ex-Mahkamah Agung (Old Supreme Court Building)
Istana Merdeka (Presidential Palace)

1) Istana Merdeka (Presidential Palace)

Istana Merdeka or Presidential Palace is part of the administrative complex located in central Jakarta, Indonesia. The Merdeka Palace, along with Istana Negara, has functioned as administrative and residential building for the supreme forces of the state. Built in the 19th century, Istana Merdeka (originally known under the name of Koningsplein Paleis) has accommodated 15 Dutch governor-generals, 3 Japanese military commanders and one president (President Soekarno). Succeeding presidents used Merdeka as residence only occasionally. Yet, the palace is still used for official reunions, receiving the Letter of Credence from foreign embassies, national and international congresses, welcoming foreign officials and heads of state and other formal events.

Apart from administrative role, the neoclassic building has also a highly important role in Indonesia’s history as it is the place where the country independence was signed. The ceremony of lowering the Dutch flag and rising the Indonesian one was held in front of the Palace, thousands of people yelling “Merdeka! Merdeka!” (which means freedom).

The building’s exterior can be admired from the Merdeka Square, while the inside of the building can be visited under strict rules of security. Special checking will be performed and only persons dressed decently will be allowed inside. Women wearing trousers are not granted access into the building.
Istana Negara (State Palace)

2) Istana Negara (State Palace)

Located opposite the Merdeka Palace and facing the Ciliwung River, in an exquisite neighborhood of old Batavia, Istana Negara or State Palace is a neoclassic building originally featuring two stories. The Negara Palace was built in 1796 and served as accommodation for J. A. van Braam, a Dutch businessman. In 1820 the building was sold to the Dutch authorities and became the official residence of the General-Governor during his stay in Batavia.

In 1848, the second story was demolished and the ground floor was enlarged so as to make the building more suitable for formal events and diplomatic meetings.

Along the time, Negara Palace witnessed two of Indonesia’s highly important historical events: the declaration of cultuurstelsel system under the Governor Graaf van den Bosch and the ratification of Indonesia’s declaration of Independence by the Dutch authorities on March 25th, 1947 (the Linggarjati Agreement).

Nowadays Istana Negara serves as a venue for official meetings, presidential visits and state affairs. Banquets and formal events are also held inside the Negara Palace.

Visitors are allowed only after a thorough check. Women wearing trousers are not granted access into the palace.
Istiqlal Mosque

3) Istiqlal Mosque (must see)

Boasting the world's most numerous community of Muslims (90% of the country’s population declared Islam as their religion), Indonesia is also home to the largest Mosque in the South East Asia. The Istiqlal Mosque was built between 1961 and 1978, after a project designed by Frederich Silaban, whose main theme was Ketuhanan or Divinity.

The Mosque was raised as a sign of gratitude for God’s help in obtaining Indonesia’s independence, hence its name, Istuqlal, which means “Independence” in Arabic.

Located in the city center, almost opposite the National Cathedral, the Mosque is also meant to be a symbol of peace and religious tolerance. Both monuments are placed near Merdeka Square, suggesting a total harmony between the mundane and the spiritual world.

An architectonic masterpiece, the Mosque can accommodate approx. 120,000 people in all praying areas. The building features 5 stories, a praying area covered with a 45m dome and a main entrance covered with a 10m dome. The minaret is 90 meters high and it is entirely covered in white marble. When not fully occupied, the praying areas are meant for religious lessons and instruction. Apart from the praying areas, the Mosque also features numerous bazaars, spaces for conferences and religious events. During Ramadan, pilgrims receive meals and accommodation inside the Mosque.

Visitors can admire the marble-covered exterior from different parts of the city, but can also take a tour of the Mosque. Non-Muslim visitors are not allowed inside the main praying hall, though.
Gereja Katedral (Cathedral Church)

4) Gereja Katedral (Cathedral Church) (must see)

Jakarta Cathedral Church or Gereja Santa Maria Pelindung Diangkat Ke Surga (the Church of Our Lady of Assumption) is a Catholic Cathedral built in neo-classical style. Located near the Merdeka Palace, at No. Jl.Katedral. 2, the Cathedral is an elegant, yet grandiose establishment featuring cast iron steeples, red brick body, teak wood shelter and stone pillars in Roman styles. It measures 60 meters in height and 10 in width, with an extension of 5 meters on each aisle.

The cathedral was finished in 1901, after a decade of halts due mainly to financial problems. Labeled as the largest and most beautiful Christian establishment in Indonesia, the Cathedral is beautifully decorated with paintings and religious sculptures. Above the main entrance, there is a round, colored glass décor symbolizing Virgin Mary. A large Neo-Gothic style organ decorates the southern side of the cathedral.

The building is divided into two stories: the ground floor is dedicated to masses and religious events, while the second floor, originally designed to hold the choir, hosts a small religious museum. Visitors can admire here robes, religious books and relics of the Catholic rituals. In the back of the church there is a small candle factory which can also be visited.
Irian Jaya Liberation Monument

5) Irian Jaya Liberation Monument

Irian Jaya is a very important monument for the people of Indonesia that was built to mark the liberation of Irian Jaya (New Guinea) from the Dutch in 1963. The monument depicts a man breaking free from a chain and shackle with wide open hands. It was erected by Soekarno, Indonesia’s first president.
Ex-Mahkamah Agung (Old Supreme Court Building)

6) Ex-Mahkamah Agung (Old Supreme Court Building)

Ex-Mahkamah Agung or the Old Supreme Court Building is one of the remarkable monuments built during Dutch colonization. The Supreme Court displays a fine Roman style with splendidly crafted columns dating back from 1848 (the inauguration year). The building is adjacent to the white house of the Ministry of Finance, which used to be part of the complex.

The Ex-Mahkamah Agung, which has witnessed some of the most important justice resolutions, has functioned as Supreme Court during Dutch colonization as well as after the proclamation of Indonesia’s Independence. Nowadays, the Supreme Court has moved in the Freedom Square, next to the National Monument. Still, visitors can enjoy the elegant silhouette of the Ex-Mahkamah Agung, with its white columns and stylish architecture featuring European elements. A visit inside the building is possible and it is free of charge. However, a written notice is required three days in advance.

Walking Tours in Jakarta, Indonesia

Create Your Own Walk in Jakarta

Create Your Own Walk in Jakarta

Creating your own self-guided walk in Jakarta is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Central Jakarta Walk

Central Jakarta Walk

Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, is a massive metropolis and a melting pot of cultures historically inhabiting the city – Asian and European – each leaving their imprint on the local architecture, language, cuisine, etc. Follow this orientation walk to explore some of the key sights of Central Jakarta to learn about the city's eventful past and present.

Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 6.4 Km or 4 Miles
Jakarta's Historical Buildings II

Jakarta's Historical Buildings II

The tour continues with the neo-gothic Catholic church - Gereja Immanuel that will impress you with its architectural features and that represents a reminder of Jakarta's past. Don't pass by some of the most important historic attractions in Jakarta, mostly located on Merdeka Square - one of the largest urban plazas in the world. The National Museum of Jakarta is also a great way to...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.5 Km or 1.6 Miles

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