Merdeka Square takes a prominent position in the Indonesian capital Jakarta. A large plaza situated in the centre of the city, the square is an important feature to Indonesians as a symbol of national pride and is also a magnet for foreign visitors. ‘Merdeka’ means independence or freedom in the local language; the square commemorates Indonesia’s struggle to achieve liberation from foreign rule.

The thriving metropolis of Jakarta has long represented seemingly incompatible values and characteristics; rich as well as poor, modern and traditional, worldly as well as spiritual. These diverse characteristics are seen as a source of richness and value rather than a source of disharmony; in fact this plurality is seen as a reflection of the national maxim ‘Unity in Diversity’.
The principal entranceway to the archipelago of Indonesia, Jakarta has long attracted visitors from across the globe. It may be said that no visit to the nation would be complete without a visit to the magnificent Merdeka Square.

The plaza’s key feature is Monas, the National Monument, a 137 metre high marble obelisk which is considered to represent the Indonesian people’s fervour and determination to achieve independence from foreign rule. The structure is surmounted by a representation of a flame which contains no less than 35 kg of gold. The monument includes a meditation hall and a historical museum which are accessible to the public. Visitors may ride the elevator which rises to the top of the structure and obtain a sensational panoramic view of the surrounding areas.

Visitors should not miss the opportunity to explore the National Museum which is situated on the west side of the plaza. The museum features extensive collections of artefacts which date back to prehistorical times and the Stone Age. The ethnographic and archaeological facets of Indonesia’s legacy are documented by many fascinating displays; of particular interest is the collection of ceramics and bronzes which date to the Tang, Han and Ming dynasties. There is also a vast assortment of cultural relics, arts, crafts and household utensils.

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