5 Best Historical Places in Indonesia – Indonesia is attractive not only due to its natural beauty, but also due to its history. Many centuries ago, Indonesia was the melting pot of different civilizations that carried out trades with one another and with local people. Due to its location that was between two continents and two oceans, Indonesia became a central trading post for people from many parts of the world. These people left many historical relics that gave Indonesia a rich historical background. Throughout its history, Indonesia had been frequently becoming a contested region for many different world powers, including European colonialists. In every stage in Indonesia’s history, there was always historical relics, monuments and places that represented it. Here we will see five of the best historical places in Indonesia that make the country an attractive place to visit.
The Grand Mosque
The Grand Mosque of Indonesia is special due to a number of reasons. To begin with, it is the largest mosque in Southeast Asia. In terms of capacity, it is the third largest Sunni mosque on earth. The Grand Mosque is also special because it is built to symbolize God’s interference in helping Indonesians achieve their independence. The mosque is called Istiqlal, which is an Arabic term meaning independence. It is also located near Merdeka Square or the Square of Independence. Built near St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral and Immanuel Church, the mosque is also built to symbolize religious harmony and tolerance that is promoted by the five principles of the Republic of Indonesia. Lastly, although it is a grand house of worship for Muslims, its architect was actually a Christian called Frederich Silaban, whose proposed design won a contest organized by Sukarno, the first President of Indonesia.
Borobudur Temple is one of the oldest historical monuments that make Indonesia a special country among all countries on earth. Borobudur is considered special because it is the largest Buddhist temple on earth. It was once one of the seven wonders of the earth and many people actually still think about it that way. It is believed that Borobudur was built between 8thand 9th century during the reign of the Sailendra Dynasty and was designed by Gunadharma. Although the temple bears a strong element of Indian architecture and culture, it does depict strong indigenous elements that make it uniquely Indonesian. Pilgrims ascend the temple through three building tiers that represent the Buddhist cosmology of Kamadhatu (the realm of desire), Rupadhatu (the realm of forms) and Arupadhatu (the realm of formlessness) to reach the Nirvana. Although it is a Buddhist place of worship, it is popular among domestic and foreign tourists regardless of their religious affiliation, partly due to its majestic structure.
The National Monument
The National Monument is an important historical landmark that is located right at the country’s epicenter, the Merdeka (Independence) Square that is surrounded by Indonesian government buildings. This obelisk-shaped monument symbolizes Indonesians’ struggle to achieve independence and their perseverance and ever-burning spirit to maintain it. The monument is topped by a gold-coated artificial flame that symbolizes such burning spirt. Visitors to this monument can observe the dioramas depicting the historical journey of Indonesians since the colonial era until they achieved their independence at the base of the monument. There is a lift that goes up along the main shaft of the monument that gives them access to the observation deck right below the flame structure. From this deck, they can watch the amazing view of the City of Jakarta. The area surrounding the monument is also great for enjoying leisure because it has been sterilized from all motorized vehicles. At night, this area is teeming with vacationers who wish to observe the majestic look of the laser-illuminated tower.
Zoo is considered a worth-visiting attraction venue, especially because of the high diversity of Indonesia’s flora and fauna. Zoos can be found in almost every Indonesia city; however, some zoos are considered distinctive due to their special characteristics and their historical significance. Among the oldest Zoos that are still operating today are Ragunan zoo in Jakarta, Surabaya Zoo, and Bandung Zoo. Ragunan Zoo is especially special because it is the oldest zoo in Indonesia that was opened first in 1864. It is also the third oldest zoo in the world and the second largest zoo in the world. There are a large variety of animals and plants that can be found in this zoo. This diversity makes Ragunan Zoo popular among domestic and foreign tourists alike. Sadly, although Ragunan Zoo and few other zoos in Indonesia gain much popularity among tourists, some historical zoos, the most notable of which are Surabaya and Bandung Zoos, are recently involved in animal maltreatment case that leads to the death of a number of animals. This problem is currently difficult to address especially because the zoos are managed by private corporations and not by the government.
Uluwatu Temple is a Hindu Temple that perches on the top of a cliff on the south-western tip of the Bukit Peninsula in Bali. This temple is considered one of the most important Hindu temples for Balinese people due to a number of reasons. To start with, it is one of the oldest temples ever constructed in Bali. Although its history is still very much obscure and there is no consensus regarding when it was actually built, based on the Chandra sangkala (a method for counting years using words for numbers), this temple was already built in 8th century. The majority of historians, however, believe that this temple was not built until at least 11th century. This temple is also considered unique because while most Hindu temples in Bali face eastward or northward, Uluwatu Temple is the only temple that faces towards southwest direction. Nonetheless, despite its significance in the history of Hindu religion in Bali, today, Uluwatu Temple is more popular among tourists due to its location on the top of a cliff that gives them a nice view of the sea and due to the blessings that it purportedly gives to surfers.