Home to over 10 million people, Jakarta is a city of contrasts; the traditional and the modern, the sacred and the worldly.
Its population comprises of all ethnic groups in the Indonesian archipelago, living under the national motto: Bhineka Tunggal Ika, meaning: Unity in Diversity.
Spanning an area of 661 square kilometers (255 sq mi) Jakarta is one of the world's largest cities. Capital of the Republic of Indonesia, Jakarta is an autonomous province consisting of five municipalities, namely : Central Jakarta, North, West, East and South Jakarta and the District of Pulau Seribu or the Thousand Islands.
Since Indonesia’s Independence in 1945, Jakarta’s population grew by leaps and bounds, new suburbs emerged, absorbing the one-time surrounding rural villages or kampungs. The metropolitan capital spread to all directions, first adding the Kebayoran area, then Pondok Indah, in the south, but now growing east, north, further south and west, so that today, Jakarta has become one almost seamless city with the adjoining towns of Bogor, Depok, Tangerang, and Bekasi. The greater Jakarta area is, therefore, known following its acronym: Jabodetabek.
Fortunately, town planning in this sprawling metropolis is such that each suburb is self-contained, complete with facilities like hospitals, schools, universities, shopping centers, and religious buildings that are all available within easy reach in one neighborhood.
Nonetheless, since the thousands of offices in high rise buildings are still centralized in the city, the millions of commuters who travel at peak hours in the morning and in the evenings from and to the suburbs, cause daily traffic snarls that are almost impossible to overcome, even with the construction of wide toll roads, overhead roads and traffic tunnels.