Fatahillah Square © Hans Hansson
Kota, also called Old Batavia or Old Town Jakarta, is the only surviving piece of the Dutch colonial district. The Dutch had their Indonesian heyday in the 16th century when Jakarta was at the centre of Asia's trade with the West. Today, many of the area's colonial buildings are falling into disrepair but the central cobblestone square, Taman Fatahillah, still invites visitors to imagine life in the 16th century, when there was little outside the colonial fortifications of Kota save for orchards and rice fields. The area is open to roam about in and there is no admission charge or distinct boundary to delineate the old district. Although information on what you are seeing is non-existent and landmark attractions are lacking, exploring Kota still allows for a rare glimpse into the city's history which has been mostly swallowed up by new developments.
A few somewhat dilapidated but still interesting landmarks in the area include the Luar Batang Mosque, the Maritime Museum, the Jakarta History Museum (housed in the former City Hall building), the Jin De Yuan Temple, and Sunda Kelapa Harbour. The area is set pleasantly on the waterfront and gives a quiet and cool reprieve from the bustle of Jakarta's inner city. There are plans to rejuvenate this historic area and some of the roads around the square have been pedestrianised as a first step in this process.