If you’re a tourist in Jakarta, the Gambir subdistrict of Central Jakarta is likely to be high on your sightseeing agenda. Located at the very center of the capital, it is home to many of Jakarta’s most iconic sights, including the National Monument (Monas), Merdeka Palace (the home of the president), Istiqlal Mosque and the National Museum. It also has some of the city’s best preserved Dutch colonial era architecture. Monas is located at the center of Merdeka Square, a park that is also one of the largest green areas open to the public in all of Jakarta. Construction on the 132 meter tall obelisk was started in 1961 by President Sukarno and symbolizes the fight for Indonesian independence. The monument also contains a museum. Istiqlal Mosque, or Masjid Istiqlal, is the largest mosque in Southeast Asia and the national mosque of Indonesia, built to commemorate the country’s independence ("Istiqlal" is an Arabic word for "independence"). It is located next to Merdeka Square and the Jakarta Cathedral. The National Museum of Indonesia is a historical museum, often referred to as the Elephant Building (Gedung Gajah in Indonesia) for the elephant statue in its front courtyard. It features numerous collections covering all of Indonesian history and it’s numerous cultures. Anybody interested in Indonesia’s art scene should check out Galeri Nasional, also adjacent to Merdeka Square. It houses an impressive permanent collection of Indonesian art from various periods and also regularly holds exhibitions featuring the works of top contemporary artists.

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