The picturesque and
historic harbor of Sunda Kelapa, also known as Pasar Ikan (Fish
Market), was built in the early 17th century (reconstructed and
expanded in 1817) and today still serves as the port of call for
perahu pinisi (sailing cargo vessels).
Sunda Kelapa is located in the far north corner of the city at the
mouth of the Ciliwung river and is the historic location where the
Portuguese traded with the Hindu Kingdom of Pajajaran in the early
The normal everyday morning scene at the Sunda Kelapa includes
auction of the fish catch of the day in the early morning at the
old fish market. On the street leading to the fish market there
are rows of shops selling all sort of shells, dehydrated turtles,
lobsters and everything else the seafarer might need.
Sunda Kelapa with its
strategic location was easily the nerve centre of Jakarta and
hence the Dutch domination of Jakarta and the rest of Indonesia
began from this area. Primarily Bugis and Makassarese traders
navigated the quaint harbor of Sunda Kelapa, in their charming and
colorful vessels form one of the world's few major commercial
sailing fleets, transporting raw materials from Sumatra,
Kalimantan and Sulawesi.
Tourists can still see the remnants of Kasteel Batavia, an old
fort and trading post of the Dutch East Indies Company at the
Sunda Kelapa. At present Sunda Kelapa is a fisherman's wharf and
in inter-island port, where you can normally find sailors and
workers loading and unloading goods manually without the help of
any equipment. If you are good at striking conversation, the
sailors might even invite you onboard.
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