The National Monument (Indonesian: Monumen Nasional, abbreviated Monas) is a 132 m tower in the centre of Merdeka Square, Central Jakarta, symbolizing the fight for Indonesia. It is the national monument of the Republic of Indonesia, built to commemorate the struggle for Indonesian independence.
The National Monument is truly unique. Its architecture and dimensions reflect the Indonesian characters. The most prominent shape is the towering obelisk and the goblet-like platform. At top of the obelisk is the “eternal flame” that symbolizes the never-ending determination and spirit of Indonesian people. The National Monument also incorporated the numbers 17-8-’45, which has been sanctified by the Indonesian.
The design and location of the National Monument is remarkable. From the main plaza of the Medan Merdeka Square, visitors are able to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the park and feel the cool breeze of the fountain. A statue of Prince Diponegoro stands majestically in the square’s northern plaza. Directly in front of the statue, three meters below Jalan Silang Monas, there is a tunnel that leads to the main grounds of the National Monument surrounded by a row of fences that resemble to bamboo spears the weapons used by Indonesians during the fought in order to achieve and maintain its independence.
Jakarta was designated as the home of the National Monument for its status as the capital of the Republic of Indonesia, where Soekarno and Hatta proclaimed the country’s independence on August 17th, 1945.
The monument constructed at the Medan Merdeka Square. The square was deemed ideal not only for its vastness, but also for its historical relevance. On September 19th, 1945, hundreds of thousands Indonesian fought the Japanese artileries to express their determination to keep away the nation from all forms of colonialism and to only aknowledge one single government, the Republic of Indonesia.
The towering monument encapsulates the philosophy of Lingga and Yoni. Lingga resembles an alu rice pestle and Yoni resembles a lesung rice mortar, two important traditional Indonesian tools. Lingga and Yoni also symbolize harmony, balance, fertility and eternal life with the lingga phallic symbol, representing masculinity, positive elements, and daytime and the Yoni the female organs symbol, representing femininity, negative elements, and night.
It also resembles the bloom of the famous Amorphophallus titanum, native to Indonesia. Indeed, fiberglass Amorphophallus and Rafflesia sculptures are installed around the monument. The monument consists of a 117.7m obelisk on a 45m square platform at a height of 17m, the goblet yard. The obelisk itself is clad with Italian marble.
The Indonesian National History Museum has a display of dioramas in the large marble-lined hall below Monas. There are a total of 51 dioramas around the walls and in the centre of the hall.
The dioramas begin in the northeastern corner, displaying the scenes from Indonesian history from the beginning during the earliest days of Prehistoric Indonesia, the construction of Borobudur, the Sriwijaya and Majapahit eras, followed with events from the period of European colonization and uprisings against Dutch East Indies Company and Dutch East Indies rule.
The dioramas continue well into the 20th century showing the Japanese occupation, the proclamation of Indonesian independence in 1945, the struggle for independence of Indonesian revolution, and on to events during the New Order era of Soeharto’s regime.
The northern pond measuring 25×25 m was designed to cool water for the air conditioning system of Monas as well as to enhance the beauty of the surrounding area. To the north, there is a statue of Indonesia national hero Prince Diponegoro by Italian sculptor Cobertaldo.
The Hall of Independence (Indonesian: Ruang Kemerdekaan) is situated inside the goblet or “cup” part of Monas (Indonesian: Cawan). The hall, which contains various symbols of independence, can be reached through spiral stairs at the north and south doors. The original text of the Proclamation of Independence is stored in a glass case inside the bronze golden door. On the west side of the inner wall. Mechanized bronze doors weigh 4 tons and are coated with goldleaf adorned with the image of a Wijaya Kusuma flower, symbolizing eternity, and a lotus flower, symbolizing purity. The doors, known as Gerbang Kemerdekaan or the Gate of Independence, open slowly while the nationalist Padamu Negeri song plays followed by a recording of Soekarno reading the text of the Proclamation. On the southern wall there is a large bronze gold-coated statue of the coat of arms of Indonesiaweighing 3.5 tons. On the eastern side is the text of the proclamation in bronze lettering. Originally the eastern side displayed the most sacred Indonesian flag, Sang Saka Merah Putih, originally raised on 17 August 1945. However, because it is fragile and in poor condition it is no longer displayed. The wall on the northern side displays a map of the Indonesian archipelago coated in gold.
There is a middle platform on top of the cawan (goblet) which provides visitors with views from a height of 17 metres. This middle platform is accessible through the elevator on the way down from the main observation deck (the lift stops on the way down at the cawan to allow visitors to exit) or through stairs from below.
A lift on the southern side carries visitors to the viewing platform at a height of 115 metres above ground level. The capacity of the elevator is about 11 people. The top platform can accommodate about 50 people. There is also a staircase for use in emergencies. The total height of the monument is 132 metres. The distance from the viewing platform to the tip of the flame is 17 metres.
Monas is topped by a 14.5 ton bronze Flame of Independence containing the lift engine. The base of the flame, in the shape of a goblet, is 3 metres high. The bronze flame structure measures 14 metres in height and 6 metres in diameter, It consists of 77 sections. Originally the bronze flame structure was covered with 35 kg of gold foil. However, during the 50th anniversary of Indonesian independence in 1995, the gold foil was recoated and increased to 50 kg gold foil. The obelisk and flame symbolize the Indonesia people’s struggle for independence.
The monument and the museum are open daily from 08.00 until 16.00 Western Indonesia Time (UTC+7) throughout the week except for the Mondays when the monument is closed. Since April 2016, the monument also open during nighttime, from 19.00 until 22.00 in Tuesday to Friday, and from 19.00 until 00.00 in Saturday and Sunday.