In 1707 during the Dutch Occupation of Jakarta, the Old Batavia City Hall was constructed and served as the administrative centre, first for the Dutch East India Company or VOC and later for the Dutch Government. The front yard of this hall is what is today known as the Fatahillah Square.
Covering an area of 1.5 hectares, the square is paved with concrete tiles. Recent renovations in 2008 saw the addition of old style lamp posts and concrete balls in differing sizes laid along the paving.
Centering the square is a fountain which is thought to have been a water supply source during the Dutch and Portuguese rule. A cannon dating back to the Portuguese period also occupies a place in the square. An ornamental hand gesture on the cannon is thought to be a fertility sign for females by the locals.
During the past, the square, being part of the city hall was also used as a venue for executions. In fact the front rooms in the city hall building which now house the Jakarta National Museum for the most part, leads off into underground rooms – dungeons.
The Fatahillah Square was acknowledged as a Cultural Heritage Site and declared open as such in 1970. This marked the beginning of the development of this area of the Old Town of Jakarta. Together with this inauguration was that of the National Museum as well which houses many historical and locally important, culturally diverse artifacts and exhibits.
As a large, open and public area found in the Indonesian capital, which is a rarity, the evenings see Fatahillah Square crowded with pedestrians, cyclists, food vendors, families and plenty of other individuals.
For those visiting Jakarta and wishing for a taste of the Old Jakarta and Batavia then Fatahillah Square is for you. If visiting the city for a longer period then serviced accommodation Jakarta may be the best option for travellers. Of the serviced apartments Jakarta, a well situated, luxurious and comfortable option will be the Somerset Grand Citra Jakarta. These apartments offer the comfort and facilities of a hotel stay coupled with the convenience of a home stay making for an ideal accommodation choice.