Monday, April 12, 2010

National Monument Tower in Central Jakarta

National Monument (MONAS) in Jakarta

The National Monument (Indonesian: Monumen Nasional (Monas)) is a 422 ft (128.7 m) tower in Central Jakarta, symbolizing the fight for Indonesia's independence. Construction began in 1961 under the direction of President Sukarno and the monument was opened to the public in 1975. It is topped by a flame covered with gold foil.After the Indonesian government returned to Jakarta from Yogyakarta in 1950 following the Dutch recognition of Indonesian independence, President Sukarno began to contemplate the construction of a national monument comparable to the Eiffel Tower on the square in front of the presidential palace. On 17 August 1954, a National Monument Committee was established and a design competition was held in 1955. This attracted 51 entries, but only one design, by Frederich Silaban, met any of the criteria determined by the committee, which included reflecting the character of Indonesia in a building capable of lasting for centuries. A repeat competition was held in 1960, but once again, none of the 136 entries met the criteria. The chairman of the jury team then asked Silaban to show his design to Sukarno. However, Sukarno did not like the design as he wanted the monument to be in the form of a linga and yoni. Silaban was asked to design such a monument, but his design was for a monument so large that it would have been unaffordable given the economic conditions at the time. Silaban refused to design a smaller monument, suggesting that construction be delayed until the Indonesian economy improved. Sukarno then asked the architect R.M. Soedarsono to continue with the design. Soedarsono incorporated the numbers 17, 8 and 45, representing the 17 August 1945 Proclamation of Indonesian Independence, in the dimensions of the monument.

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