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Notes on the Geography of Indonesia: Jakarta

The Dutch saw Batavia grow to a city a half a million; sixty years after their reluctant departure, Jakarta has become a city of 13 million.

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Indonesia: Jakarta  picture 1

When Governor-General Daendels moved his capital inland from the old Kota, he laid out a great square, the Koningsplein, now the Medan Merdeka or Freedom Park. It's one of those oversized, pedestrian-hostile blocks of unused space that bedevil capital cities around the world. In the center stands the MONAS, or national monument, built by Sukarno to commemorate independence and perhaps himself.

Indonesia: Jakarta  picture 2

Another of Sukarno's megaprojects: Jalan Thamrin, the thoroughfare that runs north-south past MONAS. The view here is northwards. Normally jammed, the street is shown here early on New Year's Day, 2001.

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From the same roof, the view southeasterly is over the old but pricey district of Menteng, beyond which lie more towers of the new Jakarta.

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The view northeasterly has a chaotic mixture of vacant land, small buildings, and highrise towers.

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Out for a walk through Menteng.

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Might as well fold the umbrella; the only thing it does is keep the rain from pounding directly on your head.

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Half an hour later, the rain stops. Houses are visible again, some new.

Indonesia: Jakarta  picture 8

Some old.


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