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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.

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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.

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Some old.

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