Monas, the National Monument, is a 433ft (132m) tower in the center of Merdeka Squara (Lapangan Merdeka) in Central Jakarta. It is symbolizing the fight for Indonesia. Monas is the official monument of the Republic of Indonesia, built to commemorate the struggle for Indonesian independence.
The construction of Monas began in 1961 under the direction of President Soekarno, and it was opened to the public in 1975.
The monument’s design
The towering monument encapsulates the philosophy of Lingga and Yoni. Lingga resembles an alu (rice pestle) and Yoni resembles a lesung (rice mortar), two important traditional Indonesian tools. Lingga and Yoni also symbolize harmony, balance, fertility, and eternal life.
The northern pond measuring 25×25 m was designed to cool water for the air conditioning system of Monas, as well as to enhance the beauty of the surrounding area.
In the outer yard surrounding Monas there are reliefs of Indonesian history. The story begins in the northeastern corner and describes events during ears such as the Singasari and Majapahit empires. The reliefs extend along the four walls showing the European colonization of the Indonesian archipelago, various popular local uprisings, modern Indonesian organizations in the early 20th century, the Japanese occupation in World War II, the Proclamation of Independence, and post-independence developments.
The National History Museum
Inside, visitors are welcomed with the Indonesian National History Museum, which displayed various dioramas. There are a total of 51 dioramas around the walls and in the center of the hall.
The dioramas begin in the northeastern corner, displaying the scenes from Indonesian history from the beginning during the earliest days of Prehistoric Indonesia, the constructions of Borobudur, the Sriwijaya and Majapahit eras, followed with events from the period of European colonization and uprisings against Dutch East Indies Company and Dutch East Indies rule.
The Hall of Independence
emerdekaan is situated inside the goblet (“cup”) part of Monas (also known as cawan in Bahasa Indonesia). Here visitors can see the original text of the Proclamation of Independence in a glass case inside the bronze golden door.
On the west side of the inner wall, there are mechanized bronze doors weigh 4 tons and are coated with goldleaf adorned with the image of a Wijaya Kusuma flower, symbolizing eternity, and a lotus flower, symbolizing purity. The doors, which are known as Gerbang Kemerdekaan or the Gate of Independence, open slowly while the nationalist Padamu Negeri song plays followed by a recording of Soekarno reading the text of the proclamation in bronze lettering.
The observation deck
Visitors can actually go up to the top of the monument to see the view of Jakarta. A lift on the southern side of the monument carries visitors to the viewing platform at the height of 115 meters above ground level. The elevator can carry about 50 people, and there is also a staircase for use in emergencies.
On the observation deck, there are a number of viewing tools for visitors to use. It is usually crowded on the weekends.
Flame of Independence
Monas is topped by a 14.5 ton bronze Flame of Independence containing the lift engine. The obelisk and flame symbolize the Indonesia people’s struggle for independence. The bronze flame structure measures 14 meters in height and 6 meters in diameter. Originally, the bronze flame structure was covered with 35 kg of gold foil. However, during the 50th anniversary of Indonesian independence in 1995, the gold foil was re-coated and increased to 50 kg gold foil.
Tips on going to Monas
- It’s best to go early in the morning, preferably arriving before 08.00am, and proceed directly to the lift to the observation tower. The lift has a capacity of perhaps 160 people per hour so long queues build up quickly. The National History Museum and Hall of Independence can be viewed later.
- Wear comfortable clothes like T-shirt, jeans, and shoes.
- Just in case you need to queue to go to the observation tower, bring hat or umbrella with you as the heat can ruin your mood.
- No need to bring too much foods and drink. There are a small shop in Monas where you can buy drinks or small snacks.
- Bring your camera!
MONAS (MONUMEN NASIONAL)
Jalan Medan Merdeka, Central Jakarta, Indonesia
Opening hours: Monday – Sunday, 08.00 – 15.00 WIB (closed on last Monday of each month)