Who does not know the city of Jakarta? This capital city of Indonesia is the busiest city in the country. The city has been used as the capital of country since long before the independence of Indonesia. Hundred years ago, when the Dutch was colonializing the country, they used Jakarta as the capital as well. Only, the name was not Jakarta. It was Batavia.

For the governmental purpose, the Dutch indeed built several buildings in Batavia as their workplaces and basecamps. After Indonesia declared their own independence, those buildings were abandoned. But up until today, some buildings are still standing strong. It becomes unique as the architecture style was very European which is very different compared to local Indonesian architecture.

Those Dutch buildings are not everywhere in Jakarta. There is a small region in Jakarta which was the center of Dutch base offices. That region is now famous by the name Kota Tua Jakarta or Batavia Lama or Oud Batavia. Kota Tua Jakarta is filled with the buildings remnants from Dutch government during the colonialism era. Most buildings have been restored and now it became a tourism destination with high historical value.

A View of Kota Tua Jakarta (Source: Flickr. Credit: j4Noo)
A View of Kota Tua Jakarta
(Source: Flickr. Credit: j4Noo) 

How to Get There

Coming to Jakarta is very easy. There are two airports that accommodate flights from many places; Soekarno Hatta International Airport and Halim Perdana Kusuma Airport. Train stations and bus terminals are also available at many regions in Jakarta to make it easy for you to come from any other towns in Indonesia. Trains and buses are available from economy, business, to executive class.

If you are already in Jakarta, then you need to get a public transportation to go to Kota Tua Jakarta. Here are the choices of public transportation:

  • KRL Jabodetabek to Jakarta Kota Station
  • Trans Jakarta public bus from Blok M (koridor 1)
  • Kopaja B 86 public bus with the route of Lebak Bulus
  • Mikrolet M08 to Tanah Abang (via Glodok – Hayam Wuruk – Cideng)
  • Mikrolet M12 to Senen (via Glodok – Hayam Wuruk – Sawah Besar – Pasar Baru – Gunung Sahari)
  • Mikrolet M15 to Tanjung Priok (via Kampung Bandan – Lodan Raya – Martadinata)
  • Mikrolet M25 to Grogol (via Jembatan Tiga – Jembatan Dua – Bandengan – Gedong Panjang)
  • Mikrolet M39 to Pademangan (via Mangga Dua – Gunung Sahari)
  • Mikrolet M43 to Grogol (via Tubagus Angke – Duri)
  • Mikrolet M53 to Pulo Gadung (via Mangga Dua – Gunung Sahari – Kemayoran – Cempaka Putih)
  • KWK B02 to Warung Gantung
  • KWK B06 to Kamal
  • KWK U10 to Pademangan-Muara Angke
  • Mayasari Bakti AC27 Patas Bus to Bekasi (via Mangga Dua – Kemayoran – Cempaka Putih – Tol Jatibening – Tol Barat)
  • Mayasari Bakti AC27 Patas Bus to Bekasi (via Mangga Dua – Kemayoran – Cempaka Putih – Tol Jatibening – Tol Timur)
  • Mayasari Bakti AC33 Patas Bus to Poris Plawad (via Roxy – Grogol – Tol Kb. Jeruk – Tol Karawaci – Cikokol)
  • APTB 04 to Ciputat (via Koridor 1 – Blok M – Panglima Polim – Radio Dalam – Margaguna – Pondok Indah – Lebak Bulus)

You can also get there by using private car. But it is much recommended to drive during weekdays because there would be traffic jam on the way there.


What to Explore

There are many beautiful buildings in Kota Tua Jakarta. Each building has its own historical value and function. Some buildings are still actively used until today. Here are some nice objects worth visiting:

1. Fatahilah Museum a.k.a Museum Sejarah Jakarta

Fatahilah Museum is the most popular object in Kota Tua Jakarta. This building is considered as the epicentrum of Kota Tua Jakarta. The building was built on 1707. During the colonialism era, this building was used as City Hall of Batavia (Dutch: Stadhuis Batavia).

Since abandoned by the Dutch in 1945 due to Indonesia’s declaration of Independence, the building had function changes for several times. In 974, the government of Indonesia has decided to use the building as Museum Sejarah Jakarta or Museum of Jakarta History. The museum is also known as Fatahilah Museum.

The building has similar form with Dam Castle in Amsterdam with thick Neo-Classical architecture of Europe. It consists of eastern wing, western wing, a side building used as court and office, and also underground prison. This three-story building is about 1,300 square meters wide.

The Façade of Fatahilah Museum (Source: Flickr. Credit: Adi Sunaryo)
The Façade of Fatahilah Museum
(Source: Flickr. Credit: Adi Sunaryo)

At the front of the building was a city square (Dutch: Stadhuisplei) which was used to be the place for execution during the colonialism era. This square is now famous by the name of “Taman Fatahilah”. In the middle of the square, there is a fountain that worked as water supply during the colonialism era. Still at the same square, there are also a Portuguese cannon and a fico ornament.

Now that the building works as a museum, you will see many collections that represent the history of Jakarta since 1527. There are artifacts from the era of Tarumanegara Empire and Pajajaran Empire, archaeological remnants found in Jakarta, antique furniture from 17th to 19th century, and much more. You can also visit the underground prison on the basement.

The museum also has several supporting facilities including a vast inner court that can be used for wedding reception or art performance, a cinema that shows documentaries about Jakarta and some popular movies, library with about 1,200 books collected, souvenir shop, and canteen. Fatahilah Museum opens every Tuesday to Sunday at 09.00 to 15.00. The museum closes every Monday and holidays.


2. Museum of Wayang

Museum of Wayang is located on Jalan Pintu Besar 27 Jakarta. It was built in 1640 and intended to be a church named De Oude Hollandsche Kerk (Old Church of Holland). In 1732, the church was renovated and renamed as Nieuwe Hollandse Kerk (New Church of Holland). But in 1808, the building collapsed due to a massive earthquake.

In 1975, the building was restored by the Indonesian government and reused to be Museum of Wayang, a traditional art form to be performed from Indonesia. There are several types of wayang such as wayang kulit (wayang made out of animal skin), wayang golek (puppet wayang), masks, dolls, and more. At this museum, there are more than 5,000 collections of wayang from all the types. You can also see a complete set of gamelan, traditional Javanese music instruments used to play the background music during a wayang performance.

The Collection of Wayang Kulit (Source: Flickr. Credit: Sigit Diatmiko)
The Collection of Wayang Kulit
(Source: Flickr. Credit: Sigit Diatmiko)

Wayang performances are showcased regularly every month. The schedule is as follows:

  • Every Second Week : the performance of Wayang Golek
  • Every Third Week : the performance of Wayang Kulit Betawi
  • Every Fourth Week : the performance of Wayang Kulit Purwa

Museum of Wayang is open every Tuesday to Sunday at 09.00 to 15.00. The museum will close on Monday and holidays. To enter this museum, you need to buy entrance ticket for only $0.125 per person.


There are still several other objects that are interesting to visit on the region of Kota Tua. We would talk further about it on the next article. We would also recommend several other activities to do at this fun place. Therefore, please check out our next article about Kota Tua Jakarta to get these informations.

The Exotic Remnants of Kota Tua Jakarta – Part 2 (END)