Today, we celebrate the 489th anniversary of Jakarta’s founding. From the trading port it started out as to the hectic metropolis that it is today, Jakarta has come a long, long way in a relatively short time. Beneath all the hustle and bustle and tall skyscrapers, lies a city with colourful personality and rich history. So in celebration, here are some interesting facts about the city that we have come to love despite all its flaws.
Before getting the name that we know today, Jakarta has had its name changed a total of 10 times. Some of these names are Sunda Kelapa, Jayakarta, and Djakarta. There is also a Japanese-influenced name, Betshu Shi, and Dutch-influenced names like Sta Batavia, Batavia, and Gemeente Batavia.
Jakarta is the largest city in Southeast Asia with a population of more than 10 million residents, and the 14th most populous city in the world.
Gelora Bung Karno Stadium is one of the largest stadiums in the world. When it was completed in 1962 to host the Asian Games, it could seat more than 120,000 spectators, the biggest in the world at the time.
Jakarta is the world’s most active city on Twitter, with the highest number of posted tweets. Twitter users in Jakarta are also capable of creating two trending topics a day.
Foreign visitors know Jakarta as “The Big Durian” because of the unforgettable impression it leaves, much like the fruit.
Ondel-Ondel are brightly coloured, 2.5-metre-tall puppets that were originally used in rituals to ward off evil spirits and provide protection. Nowadays, they have become a symbols of celebration, festivals and liveliness.
Tanah Abang Market in Central Jakarta is the biggest textile and apparel wholesale centre in Southeast Asia. Block A of the market covers 160,000 square metres of space and sees up to 80,000 customers during peak periods.
Jakarta has more shopping malls than any other city in the world: 173 to be precise.
Jakarta is home to 47 museums, one of the highest numbers of any city in the world. Some of these include the museum of Indonesian fauna, which is shaped like a komodo dragon, the museum of the Asmat tribe, which is built like traditional tribal house, and many more.
Amid all the high-rise buildings, there are three forests mostly untouched by urban development. They are in Kota Tebet, Srengseng and Muara Angke.
Jakarta is the most congested city in the world, with more than 13 million motorised vehicles in operation. This number is growing daily.
A total of 580 trains goes through Jakarta’s central train station (Stasiun Jakarta Kota) every day.
While Monas is often regarded as the symbolic structure of Jakarta, it is actually a misconception. The statue of a Brahminy kite (the state bird of Jakarta) with a cluster of salak in Cempaka Putih, central Jakarta, is the official symbolic structure of Jakarta.
Happy Birthday Jakarta!