Kota Tua or Kota Tua Jakarta ("Jakarta Old Town") is a neighborhood comprising the original downtown area of Jakarta, Indonesia. It is also known as Old Jakarta and Old Batavia (Dutch: Oud Batavia). It spans 1.3 square kilometres within North Jakarta and West Jakarta (Kelurahan Pinangsia, Taman Sari and Kelurahan Roa Malaka, Tambora). The largely Chinese downtown area of Glodok is a part of Kota Tua.
Kota Tua is a remainder of Oud Batavia, the first walled settlement of the Dutch in Jakarta area. The area gained importance during the 17th-19th century when it was established as the de facto capital of the Dutch East Indies. This inner walled city contrasted with the surrounding kampung (villages), orchards, and rice fields. Dubbed "The Jewel of Asia" and "Queen of the East" in the 16th century by European sailors, the area was a center of commerce due to its strategic location within the spice trade industry in the archipelago.
Headquarter of Dutch East India company
In 1526, Fatahillah, sent by Sultanate of Demak, invaded the Hindu Pajajaran's port of Sunda Kelapa, after which he renamed it into Jayakarta. This town was only 15 hectare in size and had a typical Javanese harbor layout. In 1619 the VOC destroyed Jayakarta under the command of Jan Pieterszoon Coen. A year later the VOC built a new town named "Batavia" after the Batavieren, the Dutch ancestors from antiquity. This city was centered around the east bank of the Ciliwung river, around present day Fatahillah Square. Inhabitants of Batavia are called "Batavianen", later known as "Betawi" people. The creole citizens are descendants of mixed various ethnicities that had inhabited Batavia.
Around 1630 the city expanded towards the west banks of Ciliwung, on the ruins of former Jayakarta. The city was designed in according to Dutch urban planning complete with a fortress (Kasteel Batavia), city wall, public square, churches, canals and tree-lined streets. The city was arranged in several blocks separated by canals. No native Javanese were allowed to live within the city walls, since the authorities were afraid that they might start an insurrection. The planned city of Batavia was completed in 1650. It became the headquarters of the VOC in the East Indies and prospered from the spice trade.
Old Batavia declined in prominence in the late 18th century, likely because the canals with their near-stagnant water, together with the warm and humid climate would often cause outbreaks of tropical diseases like malaria. Much of the old town became neglected and abandoned due to its ailing nature, and slowly its canals were filled up. Countryside villas were preferred by wealthier residents, which caused the city to grow southward. This process led to the foundation of an estate named Weltevreden.
As capital of Dutch East Indies
The city retained its status as the administrative center of the Dutch East Indies when the VOC transferred its possession to the monarch of the Netherlands in 1800.
During the rule of Governor General Daendels in 1808, the city's administration and military were moved south to Weltevreden, with a new planned town center around Koningsplein and Waterlooplein. Due to financial problems however, much of the old town, its wall, and Kasteel Batavia were torn down for construction materials to build new government and civic buildings, such as the Palace of Daendels (now department of Finance) and the Harmonie Society Building (demolished). The only remnant of Kasteel Batavia is Amsterdam Gate, which eventually was completely demolished in 1950.
The city continued to expand further south as epidemics in 1835 and 1870 forced more and more people to move out of the old city to the new spacious, green and healthier Weltevreden neighborhood. The old city became deserted and was a mere empty shell of its former glory by this period. Old Batavia kept its commercial importance as the city's main harbor and warehouses district, but it was largely overshadowed by Surabaya as the colony's prime harbor and commercial hub.
After the opening of Tanjung Priok harbor and fueled by the increasing rubber output in the late 19th century, Batavia was able to regain its commercial momentum. There had been attempts to restore the city's old downtown prominence by converting the desolated area to be the main business district of Batavia. As a result the former mansions and shophouses that at the time had been occupied by ethnic Chinese people, were converted and renovated into offices in 1900-1942. Many of these offices can still be seen today around Kali Besar. The development of the business district was hampered by the 1930 Great Depression and the Japanese occupation of Indonesia in 1942.
Post Independent Indonesia
After the recognition of Indonesia's independence in 1950, the business district was moved to Thamrin and Kebayoran Baru in the south, thus allowing the old city to further deteriorate again after having regained some of its lost glory.
In 1972, the Governor of Jakarta, Ali Sadikin, issued a decree that officially designated the Jakarta Kota Tua area as a heritage site. The governor's decision was necessary in order to preserve the city's architectural roots – or at least what was left of it. Despite the Governor's Decree, Kota Tua remained neglected. Even though the majority was pleased just by the issuing of the decree, not enough was being done to protect and conserve the legacy from the Dutch colonial era. Many buildings in Kota Tau remain abandoned, and increasing pollution hastened up the dilapidation rate of the old buildings. Some old buildings in Kali Besar were destroyed for development despite its heritage status, such as Hotel Omni Batavia, which was built over an old warehouse.
Restoration and revitalization
First concrete plan of Kota Tua revitalization was signed in December 2004 by Jakarta Old Town-Kotaku and the government of Jakarta. The commencement of the revitalization plan was started in 2005. Taman Fatahillah Square was revitalized in 2006.
In 2014 the city's governor at that time Joko Widodo continued the restoration plan of Kota Tua. The project, named "Jakarta Old Town Reborn" (JOTR), is a cooperation between state-owned enterprises, the municipal government and the private sector. In March 2014, an event Fiesta Fatahillah was held in Taman Fatahillah Square. The Dutch aided the restoration plan in July 2014. By August 2014, 16 buildings in Kota Tua has been restored, such as the 1929 Modernist Kota Post Office buildings, which has been converted into a contemporary art museum. Despite of this promising developments, most of the city's crumbling colonial architecture remain in ruins up to this day.
Street vendors remain the biggest problem in Kota Tua. Illegal street vendors and hawkers increase dramatically around Kota Tua area, especially during holidays, causing increase in garbage. As of May 2015, 415 street vendors are allowed to sell their items in Kota Tua area.
Nowadays, many remaining historical buildings and architecture are steadily deteriorating, but some of the old buildings have been restored to their former glory. However, there is still much hope in restoring the area, especially with aid from various non-profit organizations, private institutions, and the government all stepping up to the plate to rejuvenate Old Jakarta's legacy. In 2007, several streets surrounding Fatahillah Square such as Pintu Besar street and Pos Kota street, were closed to vehicles as a first step towards the rejuvenation. Since 2014 the old town has a brighter future with the ambitious JOTR project to restore Old Batavia's architecture and putting the site on the UNESCO heritage list.
As an important city and commerce hub in Asia since the 16th century, Oud Batavia is home to several important historical sites and buildings:
- Relic from the Old Batavia
- Cafe Batavia
- Fine Art and Ceramic Museum (Former Court of Justice)
- Gereja Sion (17th century church, the oldest surviving church in Jakarta, and probably in Indonesia)
- Jakarta History Museum (18th century City Hall of Oud Batavia)
- Glodok and Pinangsia Area (Jakarta Chinatown)
- Kali Besar (original river of Oud Batavia)
- Kota Intan Drawbridge (the only surviving Dutch drawbridge in Indonesia)
- Luar Batang Mosque
- Maritime Museum and Menara Syahbandar (former warehouses of Oud Batavia)
- Pasar Ikan (Fish Market)
- Port of Sunda Kelapa (the original port of Oud Batavia)
- Jin De Yuan Temple (Vihara Dharma Bhakti, the oldest Buddhist temple in Jakarta)
- Petak Sembilan Chinese Street Market
- Toko Merah (18th-century mansion of Governor General Baron Van Imhoff)
- Wayang Museum (20th-century former Museum of Oud Batavia marking the site of the tombstone of Coen)
- Hui Tek Bio Temple
- Early 20th-century revitalization
- Bank Indonesia Museum (former Javasche Bank, the main bank of the Dutch East Indies)
- Chartered Bank of India, Australia and China (Now owned by Bank Mandiri)
- Jakarta Kota Post Office (One of a few samples of Nieuwe Zakelijkheid architecture in Indonesia)
- Jakarta Kota Station (formerly known as BEOS station or Batavia Zuid Station)
- Bank Mandiri Museum (former Netherlands Trading Society (Dutch: Nederlandsche Handelsmaatschappij), one of a few samples of Nieuwe Zakelijkheid architecture in Indonesia)
List of street names
Most street layout of Kota Tua has not changed since the 17th-century. Below is a list of street names in Kota. The list of road is limited to the road that was located within the walled city of Batavia, both before and after the 1628 and 1629 attack of Batavia by Sultan Agung.
To avoid confusion, the official writing of Roman numeral is converted into an Arabic numeral.
Some streets bear the name gracht ("canal"), meaning that it was a canal, e.g. Amsterdamschegracht, Chineeschegracht, etc. When the canal was refilled (mostly around the beginning of the 20th century), the word gedempte ("muted") was added so the name of the street becomes the Gedempte Amsterdamschegracht, Gedempte Chineeshegracht, and so on. To simplify the naming, the list will not contains the word gedempte.
|Official name||Etymology||Former name||Former etymology & brief history||Latest image||Oldest image|
|Jalan Bank||After Museum Bank Indonesia||Brugstraat (1650); Hospitaalstraat (1667); Java Bankstraat (20th century)||The street had existed since 1632. The name Brugstraat was given around 1650. At the same time the Inner Hospital was build to the south of the road, and in 1667 the road name became the Hospitaalstraat. When the hospital was converted into the Javasche Bank in early 20th century, the street was renamed Java Bankstraat.|
|Jalan Cengkeh (north extension)||Clove||Kasteelweg||after Castle Batavia|
|Jalan Cengkeh Dalam||Clove|
|Jalan Cengkeh Dalam 1||Clove||Tygersgracht, Tijgersgracht|
|Jalan Ekor Kuning||The yellow tail fish|
|Jalan Gang Asem||Tamarind|
|Jalan Gedong Panjang||Gedong Pandjang|
|Jalan Jembatan Batu||Stone bridge||Originally a southern section of Batavia City wall where Gelderland bastion, Oranje bastion, Hollandia bastion and the Nieuwepoort was constructed around 1632.|
|Jalan Kali Besar Barat||West of Great River||Kali Besar-West||Layout of Jalan Kali Besar Barat and Kali Besar Timur appeared around 1632 after the mouth of Ciliwung (Groote Rivier) was normalized subsequent to the period of Sultan Agung's Siege of Batavia. Subsequently the street was simply named west-of or east-of the Kali Besar.|
|Jalan Kali Besar Timur||East of Great River||Kali Besar-Oost||see Jalan Kali Besar Barat|
|Jalan Kali Besar Timur 1||East of Great River||Oudekerkgracht (c. 1627), Kerkgracht (c. 1632), Groenemarktsgracht, Groenegracht (c. 1635), Groenestraat (before 1931)||The canal that will become the Groenegracht is one of the oldest artificial canal established by the Dutch in Batavia, constructed around 1619 together with what will become the Amsterdamschegracht and the Leeuwinnegracht; all canals were established when the water of Ciliwung is channeled to the east through the early fortified Batavia settlement. In 1622 the canal was extended until the street of Prinsenstraat (Jalan Cengkeh). In 1627 the canal reached its longest length when it was extended to reach the Tijgersgracht; it received the name Oudekerkgracht ("Old Church Canal"), referring to the Church and City Hall that existed to the south of the canal in 1622 before the current Old City Hall, the exact point of the Church-City Hall building is at . In 1632, the canal was renamed Kerkgracht ("Church Canal") and around this year the old Church-City Hall was demolished. In c. 1635, the canal received the name Groenemarktsgracht or Groenegracht, referring to the old vegetable market. This evening market which sold fruits and vegetables was still remembered today in the name Pasar Pisang area (banana market) and was mentioned by Captain Cook. Also to the south of Groenegracht was a large Moorish market (possibly Muslim people from Kalinga, not from Arab) where silverware and other exotic items were sold by Muslim merchants; the influx of these Muslim people occurred at least in the second half of the 18th century, because since the massacre of the Chinese people, influx of Muslim merchants from Arabs had taken place. The pasar ("market") character of this area was also remembered in the name of the draw bridge Hoenderpasarbrug (now Jembatan Kota Intan), a bridge parallel with the canal. The canal was refilled in early 20th century and received the name Groenestraat until nationalization when the name was converted into Jalan Kali Besar Timur 1.|
|Jalan Kali Besar Timur 2||East of Great River||Factorijstraat (before 1931)|
|Jalan Kali Besar Timur 4||East of Great River||Noorden Kerkstraat (1667); Lloydstraat (before 1931)||So called because it is located to the north of the New Church of Batavia (destroyed in an 1808 earthquake)|
|Jalan Kali Besar Timur 5||East of Great River||Zuiden Kerkstraat (1667); Kerkstraat (before 1931)||So called because it is located to the north of the New Church of Batavia (destroyed in an 1808 earthquake)|
|Jalan Kembung||Kembung fish|
|Jalan Kemukus||Java pepper||Binnen Kaaimanstraat|
|Jalan Kopi||Coffee||Utrechtsestraat (1650)||After the bastion Utrecht to the west end of the street, which in turn after the Dutch city of Utrecht. The planning of the road was laid out in 1632, and it received the name Utrechtsestraat around 1650. The road was laid across the ruins of Jayakarta where the destroyed mosque of Jayakarta, the alun-alun (Javanese square) and the destroyed kraton (Javanese palace) lies. The cemetery of the original Javanese inhabitant of Jayakarta lies at the point where Jalan Kopi meets Jalan Tiang Bendera 3.|
|Jalan Kunir||Turmeric||Derde dwarsgracht (c. 1627); Leeuwinnegracht (c. 1632)||The canal that will become the Leeuwinnegracht was the oldest artificial canal established by the Dutch in Batavia, constructed around 1619 together with what will become the Amsterdamschegracht and the Groenegracht; all canals were established when the water of Ciliwung is channeled to the east through the early fortified Batavia settlement. When Batavia expanded around 1627, the canal was known as Derde dwarsgracht. A fish market existed to the south of the canal, at the mouth of the canal and Ciliwung (the exact position is ). After the attack of Sultan Agung between 1628-1629, Batavia's city wall was improved and the canal was renamed Leeuwinnegracht; At this time the canal connects Ciliwung (Grote Rivier) and Tijgersgracht. The canal was extended further east in 1635 when it reached the eastern walled-city Canal. The canal was refilled in the beginning of 20th century but the name Leeuwinnegracht persisted until Indonesian nationalization.|
|Jalan Lada||Pepper||Tygersgracht, Tijgersgracht|
|Jalan Lada Dalam||Inner Pepper|
|Jalan Malaka 2||Gang Orpa|
|Jalan Nelayan Timur||East Fisherman||Oudemarkgracht (c. 1627), Steenhouwersgracht (c.1632), Amsterdamschegracht (c. 1632)||The canal that will become the Amsterdamschegracht was the oldest artificial canal established by the Dutch in Batavia, constructed around 1619 together with what will become the Leeuwinnegracht and the Groenegracht; all canals were established when the water of Ciliwung is channeled to the east through the early fortified Batavia settlement. Aroun 1619, the canal was located to the south of the early settlement of fortified Batavia, at the time when Batavia Castle began to grew southward. In 1622, the canal was extended eastward until it reach the street that will become the Prinsenstraat (Jalan Cengkeh); around this time the early fortified settlement of Batavia had been converted into a public square where a fish market and the large marketplace was established. In 1627, the canal was extended further east and made a turn to the south to merge with Tijgersgracht; at this time the canal separated the Kasteelplein to the north (previously the marketplace) and Batavia settlement to the south and received the name Oudemarkgracht ("Old Market") to refer to the 1622 marketplace building. In 1632 the name of the canal was changed into first Steenhouwersgracht and later Amsterdamschegracht and it was extended further east, the eastern portion was named Olifantsgracht ("Elephant Canal"), referring to the elephant house in the eastern wall of Batavia that was demolished when Batavia city wall expanded and the canal extended. Eventually the name Olifantsgracht was replaced with Amsterdamschegracht in 1635.|
|Jalan Pasar Pagi|
|Jalan Paus Kel.|
|Jalan Petak Asem 1||Spinhuis Gracht or Rhinoceros Gracht (1650)||see Jalan Tiang Bendera 1, 2, 3, and 4|
|Jalan Pinangsia 1|
|Jalan Pinangsia 2|
|Jalan Pinangsia Raya|
|Jalan Pinangsia Timur|
|Jalan Pintu Besar Utara||"Northern Main Gate", after the Nieuwepoort, main gate of the walled city of Batavia from the south.||Heerenstraat (circa 1627), Binnen Nieuwepoortstraat (before 1931)||One of the oldest street of Batavia, planning of a street that was later known as the Heerenstraat or Heerestraat (Gentleman's Street) had existed since 1619, way before the creation of Batavia's city wall. Around 1622, a small entrance portal lies on the south end of the planned Heerestraat, a point where the planned street meets a canal known as Vierde dwarsgrachts (1619-1632) - the point of the portal lies exactly at the junction of Jalan Pintu Besar Utara and Jalan Bank. The first church and city hall outside the Castle was on this unnamed street. At its most extended plan in 1627, Heerenstraat stretched north-to-south from the point at Jalan Nelayan Timur, stretching to Jalan Teh, Jalan Pintu Besar Utara, and Jalan Pintu Besar Selatan. It was the Broadway of Batavia until the first offensive of Batavia by Sultan Agung, King of the Mataram Sultanate, after which a wall and a new entrance portal (the Nieuwe Poort) was constructed around 1632 (along what is now Jalan Jembatan Batu), dividing Heerenstraat into the Heerenstraat (north of the wall, now Jalan Pintu Besar Utara) and Nieuwpoortstraat (now Jalan Pintu Besar Selatan).|
|Jalan Pintu Besar Selatan||"Southern Main Gate", after the Nieuwepoort, main gate of the walled city of Batavia from the south.||Heerenstraat (circa 1627), Nieuwepoortstraat (circa 1632), Buiten Nieuwepoortstraat (before 1931)||see Jalan Pintu Besar Utara|
|Jalan Pos Kota||Tygersgracht, Tijgersgracht||Jalan Pos Kota was originally the street west of Tijgersgracht.|
|Jalan Roa Malaka Selatan|
|Jalan Roa Malaka Utara|
|Jalan Semut Ujung||Gang Semoet (1931)|
|Jalan Teh||Tea||Heerenstraat (circa 1627); Theewaterstraat ||See Jalan Pintu Besar Utara|
|Jalan Telepon Kota|
|Jalan Tiang Bendera||Flag pole||Maleische Gracht ||The canal Maleische Gracht, established in 1650 to extend the Amsterdamsche Gracht, existed approximately between Jalan Tiang Bendera and the railway track.|
|Jalan Tiang Bendera 1, 2, 3 and 4||Flag pole||Spinhuis Gracht or Rhinoceros Gracht (1650)||After the old spinning house which lies facing the canal. The original street contains a canal called Spinhuis or Rhinoceros Gracht. The street layout on the east of the canal stretched south-to-north from Jalan Tiang Bendera 4, Tiang Bendera 1, Petak Asem 1, and a point at Jalan Paus Kel., while the street on the west of the canal stretched from Jalan Tiang Bendera 3, Tiang Bendera 2, Petak Asem 1, and a point at Jalan Paus Kel. The canal was refilled later in the 20th century.|
|Jalan Tiang Bendera 5||Flag pole||Pendjaringan|
|Jalan Tol Pelabuhan|
|Jalan Tongkol||Tongkol fish||Kasteelstraat, Kanaalweg|
|Taman Fatahillah||After Fatahillah, the legendary ruler of Sunda Kelapa||Nieuwe Markt (1627), Stadhuisplein (before 1632)||Taman Fatahillah has always been an empty piece of land since the founding of Batavia. It was a public square known as Nieuwe Markt ("New Marketplace") in 1627. It probably received the name Stadhuisplein not long after 1627, since a City Hall had always existed in the same location as the current Old City Hall since 1627.|
- Kota Tua Jakarta booklet, Dinas Kebudayaan dan Permuseuman Pemerintah Provinsi DKI Jakarta
- 75% of Old Town Crumbling -- No Incentive from the Government, Kompas, March 6, 2006
- Litbang "Kompas"/GRH (18 May 2015). "Menunggu Bangkitnya Sang Ratu dari Timur". Kompas (in Indonesian) (Jakarta).
- New Life for an Old Town, forbesindonesia, May 4, 2014
- The rebirth of Jakarta’s Old Town, thejakartapost, July 23, 2014
- Old Town Revitalization Becomes a Priority for Provincial Gov't of DKI Jakarta, Kompas, June 10, 2006
- Kota Tua strong contender UNESCO heritage nominees list, thejakartapost, February 4, 2015
- Kaart van het Kasteel en de Stad Batavia in het Jaar 1667 [Map of the Castle and the City Batavia in year 1667] (Map) (Den Haag ed.). 50 rhijnlandsche roeden (in Dutch). Cartography by J.J. Bollee. G.B. Hooyer and J.W. Yzerman. 1919.
- de Vletter, M.E.; Voskuil, R.P.G.A.; van Diessen, J.R. (May 1997). Batavia/Djakarta/Jakarta Beeld van een metamorfose. Purmerend: Asia Maior. pp. 110–112. ISBN 9074861091.
- Stads-kaart van Batavia [City Map of Batavia] (Map) (Den Haag ed.). 1:15000 (in Dutch). Cartography by A. van Weperen. Reproductiebedrijf Topografische Dienst. 1931. Retrieved 2011-09-08.
- dr. F. de Haan (1922). "Oud Batavia – Eerste deel". Indische Literaire Wandelingen. Batavia: G. Kolff & Co. Retrieved 17 August 2015.
- Kota Batavia, Peta
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Kota, Jakarta.|