Photo: Worth a visit.

Central Jakarta’s Historic Churches

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Within a radius of two kilometres in Central Jakarta, three historic churches, each of a different denomination sit within walking distance of Southeast Asia’s largest mosque and provide a simple reminder that Indonesia is a diverse multi-faith society, home to more than 26 million Christians despite it often being referred to as a Muslim nation.

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Opposite Istiqlal Mosque, the Catholic cathedral officially Gereja Santa Perawan Maria Diangkat Ke Surga (Saint Mary of the Assumption), but more commonly known as “Gereja Katedral Jakarta” was completed in 1901 replacing earlier structures from 1810 and 1890. Prior to the early 19th century Catholicism was banned by the ruling Dutch in Indonesia, but political changes in Europe at that time, saw a new openness and the building of Catholic churches in the colonies and what had been a secret practice in some homes was now made public.

Within Katedral Jakarta. Photo taken in or around Central Jakarta’s Historic Churches, Jakarta, Indonesia by Sally Arnold.

Within Katedral Jakarta. Photo: Sally Arnold

The Neo-Gothic stone structure is dominated by three striking white filigree metal spires. Within the cathedral a high wooden vaulted ceiling is typical of the style and a large rose stained glass widow sits over the main portal while an arc of arched stained glass windows decorate the main altar. Pews are suited to the tropics, made from wood with rattan seats that allow the air to flow. In the garden is a small grotto for worshipers and a covered tent caters to overflow for busy services. The cathedral houses a small museum, but it was closed for renovation at the time of our visit in March 2018. Interestingly as a display of tolerance, the mosque and cathedral open their parking spaces to each other during the peak periods of Christmas ... Travelfish members only (Around 500 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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Central Jakarta’s Historic Churches
Scattered around central Jakarta
Admission: Free

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Where to next?

Where are you planning on heading to after Jakarta? Here are some spots commonly visited from here, or click here to see a full destination list for Indonesia.

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