TWHS: Old Town of Jakarta, Indonesia

If you spend any time at all visiting Indonesia, this’ll be a tentative World Heritage Site you no doubt won’t have to go very far out of your way to visit, since odds are you’ll be going through Jakarta and have a long layover at some point, and here’s what you should spend that time visiting:

The Old Town of Jakarta (Formerly old Batavia) and 4 Outlying Islands (Onrust, Kelor, Cipir dan Bidadari)

Located at the mouth of the Ciliwung River in Java , the Old Town of Jakarta was established by the VOC in 1619. Its 17th century town plan was completed in 1650. In 17th and 18th century VOC had largest volume of trade in the world, governed  from  Batavia.  No  colonial  town  built  by  VOC  matched  the  grandeur and  completeness  (military,  civil engineering, and urban elements) of Dutch town planning & architecture of Batavia. 

The nominated property: the 1650 town (1.5 km x 1 km) with 4 major areas on the Ciliwung River sides. West side: former Jayakarta and two 18th century houses. North west side: West Warehouse, old town wall remains, Floating Warehouse, VOC shipyard,  Luar Batang Mosque. East side: East Warehouse, Town Square, Town Hall. South east side: China Town. Kalibesar Canal with traditional boats wharf. Islands: Onrust, Kelor, Cipir & Bidadari with shipyard and forts…

This is a standard tourist attraction, so there’s no problem finding tours and guides, for instance check out

A good starting point is Taman Fatahillah the Old Batavia town square,

Taman Fatahillah

surrounded by museums and historical buildings and various street performers like this levitating fellow in a particularly shiny outfit,

Kota Tua Jakarta LEVITATION

and then you can wander around to whichever of the various structures in the neighbourhood strikes your fancy.

The Kota Intan Bridge for example is generally regarded as notable:

Kota Intan Bridge


An integral part of every history-minded tourist’s itinerary, this bridge is one of the few remaining examples of colonial Dutch civil engineering…

We might not go quite as far as “integral,” more like “long as you’re there, why not,” but yes Dutch colonialist legacy in Asia is something a little out of the ordinary, so put that on your when-in-Jakarta bucket list!

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