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Merdeka Square

The lookout of Jakarta’s colossal National Monument offers breathtaking views of the plaza and gardens that make up one of the world’s largest public squares.

Enjoy sweeping city views, admire grand colonial architecture, relax on grassy lawns and spot free-roaming deer at Merdeka Square (Lapangan Merdeka). Measuring about 185 acres (75 hectares) inclusive of its gardens, it is one of the biggest squares on the planet. Merdeka Square was created in the 18th century as the Dutch East India Company’s Koningsplein (King’s Square). It was renamed after Indonesia declared its independence from Dutch rule. Merdeka is the Indonesian word for independence.

Rising above the square is the 433-foot (132-meter) tall National Monument (Monumen Nasional), also known as Monas. Sukarno, Indonesia’s first president, gifted it to the nation as a symbol of independence. It features an obelisk crowned by a gilded sculpture of flames. Ride the elevator to the observation deck and marvel at the uninterrupted panoramas. On the ground floor is a museum exhibit with dioramas that portray Indonesian history from the prehistoric era to the battle for independence.

Stroll around the tree-shaded lawns, where groups of friends and families play games, enjoy picnics, fly kites and take shelter from the hot sun. Browse the collection of sculptures, including a bust of poet Chairil Anwar and an equestrian statue of the Javanese prince Diponegoro. Watch a musical fountain show, which takes place on weekends. Spotted deer live in an enclosure in the southeastern corner.

Inspect the colonial landmarks that frame the square. Among these are Jakarta City Hall and Merdeka Palace. At the National Museum of Indonesia, learn about the indigenous cultures native to the country’s many islands.

Located at the heart of Central Jakarta, the square is easily accessible via public buses. Gambir train station stands on the square’s eastern edge. Walk here from other major city attractions such as Immanuel Church, Istiqlal Mosque and Jakarta Cathedral.

Merdeka Square is busy 7 days a week and often hosts artisan markets and military parades. The National Monument is open daily and has an admission fee. Arrive early in the morning to avoid lines. The National Museum of Indonesia is open from Tuesday to Sunday.


Guide to Exploring Merdeka Square


Map

Top Hotel Deals

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Pullman Jakarta Indonesia ฿2,988
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      Four Points by Sheraton Jakarta Thamrin ฿1,533
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            Grand Hyatt Jakarta ฿4,692
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                Millennium Hotel Sirih Jakarta ฿1,195
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