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View of Batavia – Old Jakarta

Batavia was the old name of Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia. Batavia was founded in 1619 by the General Governor of East Indies Companies (VOC) Jan Pieterzoon Coen at the location that previously was the palace of Jayakarta Prince.

The old town that lies on 1,1 square Kilometer declined area suffered several tragic event on her history including the spread of Malaria and the worse tragedy where ten thousand Chinese were slaughter by the Dutch. The town was burned down and after the tragedy the Chinese should live outside of the town wall.

In addition to the many neglected buildings, the old town is also experiencing a variety of environmental problems, such as Kali Besar River which divides the old Jakarta into two. Although the river used to be able to dock the ship, is now stagnant and unhealthy. At the end of the river is the oldport Sunda Kelapa.

The center of Batavia was a city hall now used as the Historical Museum of Jakarta She has antique furniture inside. In front of the museum was a vast plaza surrounded by several old buildings including Puppet Museum, a row of shop-houses which one of them is Batavia cafe.

The anatomy of Batavia’s urban form was totally changed in the beginning of 19th century when Daendels ruled the town. He obtained the task from the authority in the Netherlands to create Batavia healthy. He destroyed many important buildings such as the town wall, the old fort in the north, and removed the main church and hospital several kilometers to the south, outside of the town wall. Later the site of the main church became Puppet Museum. In the beginning of 20th century, many art deco buildings were erected, replacing many old buildings that have been built during the construction of Batavia in 17th century. The original urban form of Batavia has gone forever. It is a pity indeed.

Nowadays Batavia is deteriorated area at the northern part of Jakarta. Although the government tries to revitalize it, the most part of the city is still in ruined. During the day the town suffered a severe traffic jam, however at night it is a quiet town. Only when there was an event held in the plaza in front Jakarta History Museum, this part of the town become alive.

The revitalization project that is now held by government, should deal with this environmental problem. The reminiscent of old Batavia referring to the era of 17th century is the West Packing House located at the town wall. At present this building was used as Maritime Museum. At the southern Part of the town there are several primary buildings including the Railway Station.

This Old town of Jakarta can be explored on foot or bicycle. You can rent a bicycle to explore the city. You can go to the old town during the day. During the day you can go to Glodok area where there are various food peddlers. Along Pancoran Street there are shops selling Chinese traditional medicine and provision for praying in the temple. Glodok still shows the old life of Jakarta Chinese. Do not forget, this place is also suffered from traffic jam and indiscipline drivers.

But however drawbacks, Glodok is a place that attracts people from all over the archipelago and even Asia. That's why you never feel in Jakarta before you go to Glodok.

Petak Sembilan Alley, Glodok
Petak Sembilan Alley, Glodok