Dating back to 1961 and built to celebrate Indonesia’s independence, the National Monument is a key landmark on Jakarta’s skyline. In fact, this towering structure is visible from all of the city’s western neighbourhoods. A popular meeting place for locals and an attraction for tourists, the monument is surrounded by markets, food stalls and parks.
Known by locals simply as ‘Monas’, the National Monument is set in Merdeka Square, a vast open space with lush greenery surrounding it. Clad in marble, the obelisk measures an impressive 137 metres high. It was designed to resemble a rice pestle and mortar (traditional Indonesian agricultural tools) as a nod to the country’s traditions and industry.
At the top of the monument sits a shining flame that symbolises the inextinguishable spirit of the Indonesian people. The flame, which measures 14 metres high and 6 metres in diameter, was made from 14.5 tonnes of bronze and plated with 35 kilograms of gold. If the goal of the National Monument was to impress, the Indonesian people can consider it a success.
Step inside the base of the monument and discover Indonesia’s National History Museum. This place houses a number of fascinating historic relics, including Indonesia’s first red and white national flag, which was flown at the Proclamation of Independence in 1945, and the original text from the Proclamation of Independence. There’s also an exhibition of dioramas that depict the country’s past.
Once you’ve had your fill of history and culture, step inside the lift that takes visitors to a sky-high observation platform. From your perch at approximately 120 metres, take in stunning views of Jakarta and its surrounds. On a clear day, you can see as far as Mount Salak, the region’s now-dormant volcano.
Take some time out afterwards to enjoy the surrounding markets, which predominantly sell trinkets and street food. Grab yourself a local specialty, find a spot on the grass and while away a relaxing afternoon with the local picnickers.
The monument and museum are open to visitors daily from 8:30am until 5pm. They’re closed on the last Monday of every month.