West Java
Central Java
East Java


the capital city of the Republic of Indonesia

Jakarta 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 centre 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 moto, Unity in Diversity.

Finding its origin in the small early 16th century harbor town o 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 centre 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 Indonesia.

The name was retained after Indonesia achieved national independence after the war's end. The ethnic Jakarta 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 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 rare such items as Indonesia's old historical documents and Dutch period furniture. Its tower clock was returned to England to be repaired under its lifetime guarantee, a lifetime 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 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 its past and is developing for the future. Skyscrapers in the centre 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 Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sundays. On fridays closing hour is 11.00 a.m. and on Saturday at 1.00 p.m.


West Java has the easiest accessibility from Jakarta being merely an enclave in this province. Stretching from the Sunda Strait to the Central Java border, a mountain range passes through the centre from east to west and peaks into smouldering volcanoes. This province has its own unique culture and language, both called Sundanese which is also used to call its people. The ancient kingdoms of Tarumanegara, Pajajaran, Banten and Cirebon would make interesting studies for the student of archeology. Cirebon is located on the border between West and Central Java, having mixed culture Cirebon and Banten kingdoms, resulting in similarly in customs and dialect of the two people. Bandung is situated 180 km southeast of Jakarta. The city gamed fame in 1955 as the venue for the first Afro-Asian Conference which the aim to promote economic and cultural relations and take a common stand againts colonialism.

The Province has a great number of attractions, from the wildlife reserve of Ujung Kulon on the south-western tip of Java and the isolated communities of the mysterious Baduy to the unspoilt beaches, the royal palaces of Cirebon and the world renowned botanical garden in Bogor.

The road from Jakarta to Bandung passes through a beautiful panorama of mountains, paddy fields and small holiday resorts. An expressway connects the crowded capital city with Bogor and the mountain areas. It has a number of sea resorts on its western and southern coasts which have modern hotels and are popular during the weekends. The Sundanese people are soft spoken. The women of the bandung region are known for their beauty. A lighthearted people who have a love for bright colours, their mournful "kecapi" music is probably in memory of beautiful legends.


Flanked by West and East Java, this province is centrally located on Java island with Semarang as its provincial capital situates on the northern coast. A network of good roads and highways in addition to solid railways linking its major cities and villages plus the accessibility to reach it by air through three main airports, all assure the visitor that he finds himself in a region with more than adequate communications.

The land can be flat, hilly as well as mountainous, and is generally fertile and perhaps therefore, is also heavily populated by a people with age old traditions as well as rich culture. Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam and Christianity have all taken part in evolution of what Central java is today. Two major seaports are to be noted : one on its northern coast called Tanjung Emas on the Java Sea, and the other one called Cilacap, a natural ocean port in the Indian Ocean, in the southern part of the province. Both these ports function perfectly as outlets for the transport of the province's agricultural and industrial products to the rest of Indonesia and to the world at large for its exports.

The most Indonesian visitors Central Java's history and its social influence over the whole nation are relatively known. The very first Moslem kingdom on the island was founded in 1511 at Demak, about 40 km from Semarang, which became the beachhead from which Islam spread out throughout the island. Today Demak is a sleepy little town, however its glory the past is still visible from one of the major relics now still well preserved, the Grand Mosque, a quaint blend of hindu and Islamic architecture, still honored and word hipped by Javanese pilgrims.

Then there us Surakarta, better known as Solo, which is the cradle of Javanese culture, with two royal houses in one single city, the Kraton of Solo and the Mangkunegaran, a principality. Descendants of these two royal houses are still considered leaders of Javanese culture and traditions which are today still patterned after for their sophistication and bearing. Pre-Independence Heads of Regencies, functioning like small kingdoms throughout Java during the Dutch colonial era, were mostly descendants or relatives of the Solo royal houses which were at the time sufficiently cooperative with the colonial administration. Thus, during centuries of living feudalism it can still be felt and observed by watchful eyes in spite of almost half a century of the republican administration since Indonesia's independence from the Dutch. Majestic ceremonies and royal festivals are still held with great pomp nowadays. Towering over Central Java is the smoking volcano of Mount Merapi along with dozen other smaller mountains, making this province on the prettiest and greenery province of all.


East Java has a variety of attractions, from temple sites to scenic beaches, a sand sea, highlands, volcanoes, marine gardens and wildlife reserves. As the power in Central Java declined around the tenth century, powerful kingdoms rose in East Java to fill the vacuum.

Between 1055 and 1222, the kingdom of Kediri prospered and expanded. During the reign of king Erlangga both East Java and Bali enjoyed a lucrative trade with the surrounding islands when their arts flourished.

Parts of the Mahabarata epic were translated and reinterpreted to conform closer to the East Javanese out-look and philosophy, and it was from this era that East Java inherited much of its treasure of temple art. In 1292 the Majapahit dynasty began an empire that was to dominate the entire archipelago, the Malay peninsula and part of the Philippines. Majapahit also established profitable trade relations with China and other countries of the South East Asian region. today the open-air amphie theatre at Pandaan tells some of stories of this glorious past. Aided by the java Ballet performances against a backdrop of distant volcanoes, any traveller will be easily enthralled by the East Java experience, capturing the spirit of the province's culture and scenery. Its capital, Surabaya is second to Jakarta in size, population and commerce. East Java is also the most industrialized province in the nation. Its economy is based on agriculture, fishery, oil industries, coffee, mangoes and apples.

Connected with the rest of Java by good motor roads and train services, there are also air services between Surabaya and other major cities in the country including Denpasar in Bali which is only half and hour's flight away. It is also easily accessible by road with regular ferry service between Bali and Java. The island of Madura, famous for its bull races, is part of the province of East Java thought it has its own traditions and language.

magnificent mountain scenery include the crater and sea of sand at Mount Bromo, the "sulfur mountain" Welirang and rugged Ijen Plateau. Little of the Majapahit empire's former glory still stands in East Java today with the exception of temple ruins and some archaeological discoveries. East Java's claim to fame in modern history is its vanguard role in the struggle for independence against colonial forces in 1945.

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