The Construction of Monas

Monumen Nasional‎

The National Monument (locally known as Monas) is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Jakarta, a 132 m tower topped by a 14.5 ton, gold plated bronze flame, situated at the heart of Merdeka Square. It was built to commemorate the struggle for Indonesian independence, and a good place to get a grasp of Indonesian history.  Its construction was equally historic, spanning two presidents and surviving a coup. 

Excavation of land on the northeast side, Soedarsono dan F Silaban, 1961/1961, From the collection of: Monumen Nasional‎

After the Indonesian government returned to Jakarta from Yogyakarta in 1950 following the Dutch recognition of Indonesian independence, President Sukarno contemplated the construction of a national monument comparable to the Eiffel Tower on the square in front of the Presidential Palace.

Building the office building and warehouse at the southwesth area, Soedarsono dan F Silaban, 1961/1961, From the collection of: Monumen Nasional‎

On 17 August 1954, a National Monument Committee was established and a design competition was held in 1955.

Construction of the museum pile cap foundation, PN. Adhi Karya, 1962/1962, From the collection of: Monumen Nasional‎

The winner was architect Frederich Silaban. After he presented his design to Sukarno, the president expressed his wish for the monument to be in the form of a linga (a Hindu symbol of divine generative energy) and yoni (a Hindu symbol of divine procreative energy) instead.

Construction of museum, PN. Adhi Karya, 1963/1963, From the collection of: Monumen Nasional‎

Silaban revised his design, but it was for a monument so large that it would have been too expensive given the economic conditions at the time. Silaban refused to design a smaller monument, suggesting that construction be delayed until the Indonesian economy improved. Sukarno then asked the architect R.M. Soedarsono to continue with the design. Soedarsono incorporated the numbers 17, 8 and 45 (representing the 17 August 1945 Declaration of Indonesian Independence) in the dimensions of the monument.

Visit from Sukarno, 1963/1963, From the collection of: Monumen Nasional‎

The construction of Monas proceeded started in 1961 with Sukarno laying the first concrete pegs.

Scaffolding installation (1964), PN. Adhi Karya, 1964/1964, From the collection of: Monumen Nasional‎
Attaching the marble, Filli Mateo - Calvino, 1964/1964, From the collection of: Monumen Nasional‎
Construction of the obelix on the top platform, 1965/1965, From the collection of: Monumen Nasional‎

The tower is topped by a platform, on which will sit the Flame of Independence.

Building the flame, 1965/1965, From the collection of: Monumen Nasional‎

The Flame of Independence is made of 14.5 tons of bronze gilded with 50 kg of pure gold.

Installing the flame, 1965/1965, From the collection of: Monumen Nasional‎

An elevator is placed within the cavity of this structure.

View of Jakarta from top platform, 1965/1965, From the collection of: Monumen Nasional‎
Installing The Prince Diponegoro Statue (1965), PN. Adhi Karya, 1965/1965, From the collection of: Monumen Nasional‎
The monument is surrounded by 80 hectares of green area, the biggest in Southeast Asia, a popular urban park that is also the lungs of the busy metropolis. Scattered across the park are sculptures of national heroes.
Finalishing a diorama, Indonesia Fine Art Academy in Yogyakarta, 1970/1972, From the collection of: Monumen Nasional‎

After construction was interrupted by the 30 September coup attempt, work resumed. On its final stage, some construction glitches fixed and a collection of dioramas depicting Indonesian history were added for the history museum located on the ground floor.

Finalishing a diorama, Indonesia Fine Art Academy in Yogyakarta, 1970/1970, From the collection of: Monumen Nasional‎

The man responsible is sculptor and lecturer Edhi Sunarso from Yogya. After the dioramas were finished, then-president Soeharto inaugurated the Monas complex.

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