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Last updated : Nov 2009
 
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Jakarta

The capital Jakarta retains much from the colonial Dutch and British periods with several fine colonial-style buildings and the newly restored ‘old quarter’. The National Monument towers 140 metres or 450 feet above the Merdeka Square and is topped with a ‘flame’ plated in pure gold. The Central Museum has a good ethnological collection with statues dating from the pre-Hindu era. The Portuguese Church is also worth a visit, completed by the Dutch in 1695, which houses a fantastic, immense Dutch pump organ. The modern Istiqlal Mosque in the city centre is 1 of the largest mosques in the world. The antiques market on Jalan Surabaya and batik factories in the Karet are also worth visiting. Puppet shows are staged, where traditional wayang golak and wayang kulit marionettes act out stories based on well-known legends. Some performances can last all night.

Elsewhere on Java

About 13 kilometres or 8 miles from Yogyakarta is the Prambanan temple complex, built in honour of the Hindu gods Shiva, Brahma and Vishnu. It includes the 10th century Temple of Loro Jonggrang and said to be the most flawlessly proportioned Hindu temple in Indonesia. There are also open-air performances of Ramayana ballet which involve 100's of dancers, singers and gamelan musicians. Sitting on a hill to the west of Yogyakarta lies Borobudur, probably the largest Buddhist sanctuary in the world, which contains more than 5 kilometres (3 miles) of relief carvings.

The Royal Mangkunegaran Palace in Surakarta is currently a museum, displaying dance ornaments, 19th-century carriages used for royal occasions, jewellery and much more. Mount Bromo in the east is still very active, and horseback treks to the crater’s edge can be begun from nearby Surabaya. August and September brings a series of bullock races to Madura, which culminate in a 48-hour non-stop carnival celebration in the town of Pamekasan.
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information on East Java