Sun, 01 Jun 2003

Jakarta anniversary celebration opens

Arya Abhiseka, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

Governor Sutiyoso officiated at the opening of the capital's month-long 476th anniversary celebrations on Saturday evening with a cultural parade that ended at the Jakarta History Museum in West Jakarta.

"The theme for this year's anniversary is to improve Jakarta's quality as a metropolitan city in providing services to the public," Sutiyoso said in his address at the event.

The parade, starting at Sunda Kelapa traditional harbor and winding through the historic Fatahillah area where the museum is located, featured Betawi (native Jakartan) arts as well as those from 30 other provinces.

Thousands of people flocked to Fatahillah Square outside the museum to watch performances by the parade participants on a main stage. Other city residents jostled for space at two other stages near the Omni Batavia hotel.

One of the main attractions was a massive 226-meter-long liong (Chinese dragon figure) that has earned a place in the Indonesian Records Museum (MURI).

A 45-minute-long fireworks display capped the evening's celebrations.

Upcoming anniversary events include the Jakarta Metropolitan Rally on June 8, the official reception on June 22, which is the anniversary date, and JakArt throughout the month of June. There is also the Jakarta Great Sale, involving outlets at 14 malls.