Jakarta has been called a study in contrasts: traditional and modern; rich and poor; spiritual arid worldly stand side by side in this bustling metropolis. Among the 8 million people who call Jakarta home, one finds representative of the many diverse ethnic and culture groups which shape Indonesia, a reminder of the nation's motto: "Unity and Diversity". You may have to search high and low in this multi-cultural Colgate find one of the proud ethnic Jakartans, called "Orang Betawi". Their language, Betawi Malay, has two variations, Conventional Betawi Malay, spoken by elder people born and bred in Jakarta, and modern Jakarta Malay, a slang form spoken by Jakarta is the port of entry for many tourists and business people. It is home to the dynamic contrasts between Western-style skyscrapers, modern urban life-styles and traditional Indonesian culture. Its rapid growth into a metropolitan city reflects the economic, political, social and industrial development of the nation. In recent years, Jakarta has expanded its facilities for visitors with luxury hotels, fine restaurants exiting nightlife and modern shopping centers. It contains many tourist attractions such as Taman Mini Indonesia Indah (Beautiful's Indonesia in Miniature' Park), restored colonial period buildings, island resorts in the Pulau Seribu (Thousand Islands) and an extensive beach recreations complex called Ancol.
The nation' capital Jakarta, has a remarkable history. Its history as a trading center started a small harbour town called Sunda Kelapa, but its actual founding dates back to the year 1527, when it was named Jayakarta by Fatahillah of the neighbouring Sultanate of Banten. The name Jayakarta means City of Great Victory. During the 17th century it served as the capital as the Dutch East Indies with the name Batavia. Reminders of this period can still be seen today in the architecture of some of the nothern parts of the city. When Indonesian independence was finally secured it was renamed Jakarta, and served today as the centre of government, business and industry, spreading over an area of more than 650 sq.km (410 sq miles).
Jakarta's architecture reflects the history of outside influences, which came and left their mark on this vital seaport city. The Taman Fatahillah Restoration Project, begun in the early 1970's has restored one of the oldest section of Jakarta, knows has Old Batavia or Kota, to one of the
most picturesque areas of the entire city. An Old Portuguese Church and wherehouse have been reincarnated as living museums.
The old Supreme Court building is now the National Museum of Fine Arts and houses part of the superb Chinese porcelain collection of former Vice-Presiden Adam Malik. The old Town Hall has become the Jakarta Museum, displaying such rare items as old Indonesian Historical document and Dutch period furniture. Event the city's tower clock was returned to England to be repaired under its lifetime guarantee, a lifetime which has now streched over hundreds of years!
As Indonesia's main gateway, Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta International Airport is the central transportation hub of Indonesia. It served a growing number of international airlines and is the nexus point for domestic flights across the vast expanse of the archipelago. Local transport of all forms within the city is readily available.