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Dio Suhenda and Suherdjoko

Dio Suhenda and Suherdjoko

The Jakarta Post


The entrance to Pasar Baru in Central Jakarta. (JP/Jessicha Valentina)

January 25, 2023

JAKARTA -Jakarta celebrated its 491st anniversary on June 22.

Over the decades, the capital has seen enormous changes with the development of skyscrapers, shopping malls and roads.

Despite its transformation, Jakarta’s five most popular markets remain the same and are a testament to the city’s history. Below is a brief history of Jakarta’s long-standing markets, as compiled by

Pasar Tanah Abang

Previously known as Pasar Sabtu (Saturday Market), Pasar Tanah Abang (Tanah Abang Market) in Central Jakarta was established in 1735 by Yustinus Vinck upon receiving a license from governor-general Abraham Patramini.

Prior to becoming a shopping center, the area was once fertile land. In 1648, Chinese lieutenant Phoa Beng Ham transformed the land into a plantation for various crops including sugarcane. This led to the roads in Tanah Abang being named after trees.

Furthermore, the area was said to be surrounded by pohon nabang (palm trees), from which it derived its name Tenabang.

Pasar Jatinegara

Most residents of East Jakarta are familiar with Pasar Jatinegara (Jatinegara Market).

During the Dutch East Indies era, the area was called Mester Cornelis as it was a home to a Dutch fortress under the same name, which oversaw access to Buitenzorg (Bogor).

Also known as Jatinegara Trade Center or Pasar Mester (Mester Market), the district was named after Meester Cornelis, a legendary figure in the area who went by the name of Cornelis Senen. Until today, visitors to Pasar Jatinegara can still see the signboard of the market with Pasar Mester written on it.

Read also: Jakarta City: Past & Present

Pasar Baru

Previously known as Passer Baroe, Pasar Baru in Central Jakarta was built in 1820.

The market was built following governor-general Daendels’ decision to move the center of the Dutch East Indies from Oud Batavia (Kota Tua) to Niew Batavia in Gambir.

As one of the longest standing shopping complexes in the capital, the market is a melting pot of Indonesian, Chinese and Indian cultures.

Nowadays, Pasar Baru is still a popular shopping complex among locals. The market is also known as Jakarta’s Little India as it hosts various Indian shops, including minimarkets, textile shops, restaurants and Indian temples.

Pasar Senen

Pasar Senen (Monday Market) in Central Jakarta was also designed by Yustinus Vinck, resulting in several similarities with Pasar Tanah Abang. Originally, the market was only opened on Mondays.

Established in 1735, the market was built on land owned by a member of the Dutch East Indies council Cornelis Chastelein.

The area was later recognized as a gathering spot for young intellectuals, such as Adam Malik, Chairul Saleh, Mohammad Hatta and former president Soekarno.


Although Glodok is recognized as Jakarta’s Chinatown, the neighborhood was built upon a tragedy.

The area dates back to colonial times following the 1740 Batavia Massacre, when Indies soldiers and Indonesian collaborators killed ethnic Chinese in Batavia.

The event, also known as Geger Pacinan, led the East Indies Company (VOC) governor-general Adrian Valckenier to issue the Wijkenstelsel policy, arranging Glodok as a residential area for the remaining ethnic Chinese. (jes/wng)


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