The Equatorial Monument, Landmark Right on the Equator Line
Among all countries in the world, only twelve straddle the Equator. While among the countless cities within those twelve countries, only one sits right on this invisible line that separates the earth's southern from the northern hemisphere. Pontianak, capital of the province of West Kalimantan, formerly known as West Borneo, has the distinction of being the only city in the world that sits right on the Equator, a fact that needs no international approval nor agreement.
The Equatorial monument was initially built from four ironwood pillars. The ironwood was locally obtained and constructed to keep up an arrow as symbol of orientation or reference. Twice a year, the shadowless sunlight occurs here, as the sun reaches its zenith on the Vernal Equinox (March 21st-23rd), and the Autumnal Equinox (September 21st-23rd). These bi-annual events are commemorated here as visitors and locals enjoy a five-minute shadowless moment in the best ‘hot spot’ of Borneo.
The word Borneo is believed to originate from a remark made by Pigafetta and the explorer Magellan’s companions in 1521, giving the name ‘Burne’ to the entire island, described as being an extremely large island, for it took the sailors three months to circumnavigate it. Today, Borneo is a land found to be rich in coal, oil, and gas deposits, and remains one of the largest remaining tropical rain forest reserves in Indonesia. While the town of Pontianak with its Equatorial Monument distinguishes itself as the only city in the world that sits right on that imaginary line called the Equator, separating the earth's northern from the southern hemisphere.
Take a taxi, angkot, or a private or rented car to the west bank of Pontianak. You will reach a district called Siantan. The first thing to notice is a bridge crossing the Landak River which means that you have crossed the Kapuas river and are on the other side of the city. The monument is only 5 KM on the north end of the city. Due to heavy traffic along the way, the trip to the monument may take you between 30-40 minutes.