Indonesia, undoubtedly, has the most impressive sights in Southeast Asia: natural phenomena, architectural monuments, art and culture of more than 150 peoples. Here you will see a blazing sunset; admire the colorful lakes that fill the craters of the Keli Mutu volcano on Flores; rise to the eighth tier of Borobudur – poems in stone; You will see huge dragons on the island of Komodo; Go trekking in the mountains of Irian Java; Sunbathe on the magnificent beaches of Bali; catch a giant butterfly in Sulawesi; go down to the crater of an active volcano; swim to Krakatau – the most famous volcano on the planet; learn the art of making batik, and any Indonesian child will show you how to make a kite.
The peculiarity of the architecture and traditional art of Indonesia is due to the influence of different and sharply different cultures and civilizations – Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim and European. Already in the first centuries of our era, the peoples of the island of Java (its culture has long been the leading one) adopted Buddhism and Hinduism under Indian influence. Indian and local traditions are combined in the classical art of Java, including architecture.
The oldest surviving architectural monuments are small elegant Hindu temples (“chandi”) on the Dieng plateau in Central Java (VII – early VIII century). They are compact cubic arrays on step bases, crowned with pyramids. The most grandiose sanctuary in Java is Borobudur (late VIII – early IX century). This is a natural hill lined with andesite blocks. It has the form of a stepped gently sloping pyramid crowned with a stupa. Countless reliefs in the galleries of Borobudur terraces, Buddha statues tell about the earthly life of the Buddha and his reincarnations. Since the VIII century, Hinduism has become the state religion in Java and neighboring islands. The Hindu temple complex Lara Jongrang in Prambanan (late IX – early X century) combines three large temples, five smaller shrines and numerous chapels. Particularly beautiful is the slender and sky-high main temple of Shiva. The temple complex Panataran (XIV – beginning of the XV century) in the east of Java is very sophisticated; its free, irregular shape is unusual. The numerous Hindu temples of the island of Bali, decorated with luxurious ornamental carvings, belong to the same era.
Since the 16th century, Islam and the traditions of Hindu culture began to be lost in Indonesia. They survived only on the island of Bali, whose population still professes Hinduism. In the rest of Indonesia, mosques and palaces of local rulers (“cratons”) began to dominate the motives of Muslim architecture in Asia. With the establishment of Dutch domination in Indonesia (XVII century), cities were built according to the European model. On many islands, many peoples of Indonesia have developed arts and crafts.
Central Java is famous for its products of gold and silver, unique in shape daggers – chris. Java is the birthplace of batik (multicolor fabric of a special painting technique) of amazingly beautiful patterns and colors. On all islands, mats, kitchen utensils, bags are woven from bamboo and coconut palm leaves. In Bali, popular reached art crafts, painting, lubok. The types of people’s dwellings are diverse – from huts (West Irian) and light bamboo houses on stilts to large wooden communal houses (sometimes on the Dayaks of Kalimantan the whole village lives in one huge house).
Indonesia’s highest point is Mount Jaya. Its snow-white peak rises above the dense tropical forests in one of the most inaccessible corners of the island of New Guinea. Eternal snows and glaciers at the equator – this is also one of the natural wonders that Indonesia is so rich in.
Jakarta is a colossal metropolis; the magnificent museum complex “Indonesia in Miniature” Taman Mini – with temples and fantastic birds under a wire dome; an hour’s drive from Jakarta is the Punchak Safari Open Zoo.
Among Indonesia’s attractions in Jakarta are the Archaeological Museum; several temples equal to the empire; Willem Church (1835); presidential palace; National Museum. In the city of Ujung Pandang on the island of Sulawesi – Fort Wredenburn; Museum of Folk Art.