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Glodok: Jakarta’s Historic Chinatown

 

Throughout history, Chinatown has always been dubbed as a hub of activity, a pillar of the economy, and a key element in each city. Situated in the district of Taman Sari in West Jakarta, in the capital city of Indonesia, Glodok is touted as the largest Chinatown region in the country and one of the largest in the world. This section of The Old Batavia City is home to many people of Chinese descent and has been known as Chinatown or Pecinan since the Dutch Colonial Era. In modern times, Glodok is best known as the electronic trading center of Jakarta.

 

Glodok: Jakarta’s Historic Chinatown
 

Strolling through the streets, visitors to the area can revel in the rich history encased in this city within a city. Follow a trail of historical buildings, ancient temples and traditional Chinese architecture.Learn, observe, and go shopping along the way. The name Glodok comes from the Sundanese word "Golodog,” which means‘ the entrance to a house,’ as Sunda Kelapa (now Jakarta,) was once the gateway to the ancient Sunda Kingdom.

During Colonial times, commercial opportunities created by the Dutch attracted thousands of people from areas of what is now Indonesia, who flocked towards the city. This also included an enormous influx of immigrants from China who were contracted as skilled artisans, sugar mill workers and shopkeepers. With the number of Chinese rising rapidly, the Dutch colonial government and locals began to feel threatened by their number.

When in 1720, global sugar prices were reduced by 50% due to increased competition and export from the West Indies, Dutch lords then set a standard price for sugar which caused unrest amongst Chinese sugar merchants. On October 7, 1740, hundreds of ethnic Chinese, mainly from the sugar trade, rose up against the Dutch, killing 50 soldiers. On October 9, 1740, the tragedy now known as Geger Pacinan struck. Rumors of a further uprising caused Dutch soldiers to open fire on Chinese homes where nearly 10,000 ethnic Chinese were massacred. The following year, the remaining Chinese were settled outside Batavia’s city walls, in the area now known as Glodok.

 

Get There

Getting to Glodok Chinatown is fairly easy. Located not far from Stasiun Jakarta Kota, visitors may either take a taxi or ojek (motorbike taxi) or try public transportation such as the TransJakarta Bus, Metromini,or 3-wheeled Bajaj.

 

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