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Sunda Kelapa Old Harbor

Jakarta, Indonesia

Sunda Kelapa is the old port of Jakarta. It is situated at the North Jakarta, Indonesia. Although today only a small port of Jakarta, this port is important for the development of this city, the little remains of bustling old port of the most important calls for sailing vessels from all over Indonesia. The magnificent and brightly painted Makassar schooner called Phinisi is still an important means of transporting goods to and from the outer islands. This is one of the finest sights in Jakarta. Wander around the old Sunda Kelapa port, watching gangs of sinew-stretched coolies smoking pungent clove-laced cigarettes unload cargos of timber, coal and spices from stunning wooden schooners.

Sunda Kelapa, also known as Pasar Ikan (meaning fish market), fish catch of the day are auctioned in the early morning at the old fish market. The street leading to it was lined with shops selling all sorts of shells, dehydrated turtles, lobsters and mostly everything the seafarer might need.

This 500-year-old harbor area was a vital link to markets of the outside world for the 15th century kingdom of Pajajaran. It was formerly the harbor town of Sunda Kelapa where the Portuguese traded with the Hindu Kingdom of Pajajaran in the early 16th century. Since then this port has belonged to the Portuguese and Dutch.
Dutch domination of Jakarta and the rest of Indonesia began from this area, whereas the remnants of Castile Batavia, an old fort and trading post of the Dutch East Indies Company can still be seen now.

According to a Chinese source in the book of Chu-fan-chi written around 1200, describe that in Indonesian archipelago there were two most powerful and richest kingdoms; Srivijaya (In Sumatra) and Kediri (In Java). According to this source in early 13th century Srivijaya still ruled Sumatra, Malay Peninsula, and western Java (Sunda). About Sunda, the book describe it further that the port of Sunda (Sunda Kelapa) is really good and strategic, pepper from Sunda is among the best quality. People work on agriculture and their house are built on wooden piles.

Sunda Kelapa is at present a fisherman's wharf and an inter island port. Tall-misted Bugis schooners from South Sulawesi anchoring there offer a picturesque scene. They belong to one of the last-fleets of sailboats in the world and still ply the seas between the islands, as they did centuries ago, carrying merchandise.

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