The Indonesian capital city, Jakarta, is located on western Java. Much of Indonesian history took place on Java. It was the center of powerful Hindu-Buddhist empires, the Islamic sultanates, and the core of the colonial Dutch East Indies. Java was also the center of the Indonesian struggle for independence during the 1930s and 40s. Java dominates Indonesia politically, economically and culturally.
Formed mostly as the result of volcanic eruptions, Java is the 13th largest island in the world and the fifth largest island in Indonesia. A chain of volcanic mountains forms an east-west spine along the island. It has three main languages, though Javanese is dominant, and it is the native language of about 60 million people in Indonesia, most of whom live on Java. Most of its residents are bilingual, with Indonesian as their first or second languages. While the majority of the people of Java are Muslim, Java has a diverse mixture of religious beliefs, ethnicities, and cultures.
Java is divided into four provinces, West Java, Central Java, East Java, and Banten, and also two special regions, Jakarta and Yogyakarta.
Banten, once a powerful maritime capital rivaling the vast Javanese Mataram Empire, is today a fishing village with an illustrious past. The Capital City of Banten Province is Serang. Old Banten is one of the well known historical objects, only 10 km from the town of Serang. In this site, we can find a lot of remains of Islamic Banten Kingdom, founded between 16 and 18 century.
Capital of the Republic of Indonesia, Jakarta is a huge, sprawling metropolitan city with a population of more than 9 million people. Jakarta is the seat of national government as well as seat of the provincial government of Greater Jakarta. Here is also the national Parliament, the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court. This city is moreover the country’s center of finance and business. It is the center of the nation’s economics and politics as here converge people from all over Indonesia, attracting people from all walks of life. Jakarta is also the center of Indonesia’s modern music and sound, and center of Indonesia’s lively creative industry. It is no wonder, therefore, that whatever happens in Jakarta is national interest and it is for these reasons that Jakarta is the hub of Indonesia’s modern history and modern life.
Places of Interest
The enchanting land of Sunda stretches from the Sunda Strait in the West to the borders of Central Java in the east. The region is primarily mountainous, with rich green valleys hugging lofty volcanic peaks, many of which surround the capital of the province, Bandung. The history of West Java is a story of trade, spices, and the rise and fall of powerful kingdoms.
In the late 1500’s the region was ruled from mighty Cirebon, which still survives as a sultanate today, although a shadow of its former glory. West Java was one of the first contact points in Indonesia for Indian traders and their cultural influences and it was here that the Dutch and British first set foot in the archipelago.
History has left its footprints across Central Java, an area rich in culture and tradition descending from a powerful Hindu and Buddhist past, and more recent Islamic influences. Due to its colorful past, Central Java has become the place it is today–a beautiful area full of modern amenities yet still retaining its tranquility and peace.
Yogyakarta (or Jogjakarta) has been known as The Neverending Asia. Many say that a single visit to Jogja is never enough.The list of things you can experience in Jogja may seem overwhelming, ranging from natural splendors, art and tradition and heritages to culinary adventure. This is why Jogja is the second most visited destination in Indonesia, next to Bali.
East Java might be the least populated area in Java island, but its charm and unique terrain will captivate its visitors. Capital of East Java province, Surabaya, is a cosmopolitan city and you can find any comfortable surroundings and facilities there. However within a short trip you might be tempted to enjoy the natural charms such as climbing Mt. Bromo and enjoying fabulous sunrise there or probably trying to conquer Mount Semeru, the highest mountain in Java (about 3676 meters above sea level).
Some parks are available for those who prefer natural surroundings. An island on the eastern part of Java called Madura is also famous for its distinct culture and bull races of karapan sapi, usually held in August and September every year.