Once the capital of Bantam Empire now Banten is
a small town at the northwestern coast of Java. At this point the
Dutch and the English first landed on Java and were held struggles
and trade. There are still many places in Banten, which remind to
the colonial time. The main site in Banten is the Mesjid Agung (The
Grand Mosque). This mosque was built in 1559 by the son of Sultan
Hassanudin and is the major sight in Banten. In opposite of the
mosque are the remains of the royal palace Surosowan which was built
by the Dutch Muslim Hendricks Lucas Cardil and destroyed by the
grand child of the sultan. Later the Sultan Agung rebuilt the palace
but the Dutch destroyed it again in 1832. On the road to Serang
close to the Surosowan is the Kaibon Palace, which is now partly
restored. Northwest of the mosque are the ruins of the fort Speelwijk.
This fort was built by the Dutch in 1682 and overlooks the see.
Close to the fort is the old Chinese temple. These 200 years old
temple is now completely renovated and still in use. The quickest
way to reach Banten is to take the bus from Jakarta to Merak and
drop off at Kramatwatu. From here a minibus can bring the visitor
5 km to Banten.