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National Monument is a 132m tower located in the centre of Merdeka Square that was built to commemorate the struggle for Indonesian Independence.
National Monument, the Most Iconic Spot of Jakarta
The idea of building the National Monument has been spoken since 1950 by President Soekarno who wanted to build a monument comparable to Eiffel Tower on the square in front of the Presidential Palace. A special committee was then made on 17 August 1954, and a design competition was held in 1955. There were 51 entries in total, with a design by Frederich Silaban was chosen as the right design as it is reflecting Indonesian character in a building capable of lasting for centuries. However, when being presented to the President, the design was rejected and President Soekarno asked for another design. Silaban then made a design that was too big and too expensive compared to the economical condition of Indonesia that time. President Soekarno was then asked an architect R.M. Soedarsono to make the design that was finally used on the current building.
The design of National Monument as requested by President Soekarno used the shape resembled rice pestle and rice mortar that symbolizes harmony, balance, fertility, and eternal life. On the northern side, there is a pond designed to cool water for air conditioning system and a statue of Indonesia national hero Prince Diponegoro made by Italian sculptor Cobertaldo. The construction was done in three stages. The construction was officially started with President Soekarno ceremonially driving in the first concrete pile. The construction was finished in 1976 with the addition of dioramas for the historical museum. National Monument was officially opened for public on 12 July 1975, and the area is known as Merdeka Square.
If you walk inside to the National Monument, you will find the Indonesian National History Museum. This museum has 51 dioramas around the marble walls and in the center part of the hall. For you who want to learn the story of each diorama according to the timeline, start with the diorama located on the northeastern corner that displays the scenes from the earliest days of Prehistoric Indonesia. Then, continue with the stories of the construction of Borobudur, the era of Majapahit and Sriwijaya, until the events during the European colonization era and the fight against Dutch East Indies rule. After that, the dioramas continue with the display from Indonesia in the 20th century, from the Japanese occupation, to the proclamation of Indonesian Independence, to key events during New Order era under Soeharto. This place is a perfect spot if you want to learn about the history of Indonesia.
On the southern side is a lift that will carry you to the viewing platform located 115 metres above ground level. The capacity of the elevator is about 11 people, while the top platform can hold up to 50 people. From the observation deck, the tip of the flame on the top of the monument is just 17 metres away. The flame itself is called the Flame of Independence that is made of 14.5 ton of bronze. The flame has a height of 14 metres and diameter of 6 metres. Originally, the flame was covered with 35 kg of gold foil. The gold foil was recoated and increased to 50 kg in 1995, during the 50th anniversary of Indonesian Independence.
In the Merdeka Square area, there is the pond with fountains that is a nice rest or picnic area. However, in 2009, the fountain was damaged and went under reparation. After the reparation, now the fountain has become another attraction during Saturday and Sunday night. The attraction is named the dancing fountain and is held twice a day. The show will let you see as the fountain dancing along with the music. The attraction can be enjoyed for free, but it is better to arrive early to get a good spot to watch the show.
How to Get Tickets?
If you just want to walk around the monument, you don't need to buy any ticket. If you want to go inside, you can buy the ticket on the spot. There is also an additional charge to go to the observation deck and if you want to see the view using the binocular on the observation deck.
How To Get Around?
To get around the National Monument, you will have to walk. If you want to go to the observation deck, the capacity of the elevator is about 11 people in one go. The area of National Monument can also be accessed with wheelchair as well.
What Should I Wear?
There is no recommended dresscode for visiting National Monument. However, be noted to check the weather before you go. You might want to wear comfortable shoes as well because you will have to walk from the entrance of the park area to the entrance of the monument.
Best Time to Visit
It is recommended to visit National Monument early in the morning, especially if you want to go to the observation deck because the capacity is not that much and it can be very crowded. National Monument is also very crowded during the weekend.
Will I Need a Guide?
You don't need a guide for visiting National Monument. If you want to ask for information, the staff inside will gladly help you.
How To Get There?
If you are using public transportation, you can ride TransJakarta bus route 6 or 1. There is also a tour bus that stops in front of the National Monument that you can ride for free. For an easier option, you can ride the online taxibike like Go-Jek or Grab.