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Immanuel Church

Admire the grandiose façade of one of Jakarta’s finest Dutch colonial buildings, spot a coveted copy of the Bible and attend services in various languages.

Immanuel Church (Gereja Immanuel) is a handsome whitewashed religious landmark and among the oldest churches in Jakarta. Take time to appreciate the Christian church’s temple-like design, listen to the soothing sounds of an ancient organ and imagine a bygone era of colonial worship.

Visit the church, which dates back to 1834. It was first called Willemskerk, in commemoration of King Willem I of the Netherlands. The church was part of the city’s former Konigsplein (King’s Square), which was created during the Dutch East Indies colonial years. Later it became a storeroom for the urns of Japanese World War II soldiers and took its current name in 1948.

The church bears a resemblance to Greek and Roman temples, with a symmetrical exterior crowned by a large dome. The main entrance features a pediment supported by a series of columns, each decorated with artistic capitals. In the center of the pediment is a wooden cross. Walk around the church to see two curving walls of columns, which mirror the circular shape of the interior.

Step inside to see both circular and straight lines of benches facing toward the pulpit. A balcony encircles the nave and allows churchgoers to look down on the rest of the congregation. Note the further uses of columns and pay attention to the gilded capitals and friezes. Look for a well-preserved edition of the Bible printed in the Netherlands in 1748.

Don’t miss the magnificent pipe organ, built in the 1840s and restored in the 1980s. Hear the organ’s compelling chimes at Mass services, which take place in Dutch, English and Indonesian. The organ is also played during wedding ceremonies.

Immanuel Church is located east of the Gambir district in Central Jakarta. It’s less than a 5-minute walk from Gambir train station. Nearby attractions include Istiqal Mosque and the National Gallery of Indonesia. Explore pretty gardens, visit the National Monument and purchase souvenirs from street vendors in Merdeka Square.


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