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Message by the President of the Republic of Indonesia
Published in 2012 for Ministry of Education and Culture, Republic of Indonesia

Size: 285 x 225 mm
Pages: 345 pp
ISBN: 978-979-1274-66-1
Price: Non-commercial product


As the largest archipelago in the world, Indonesia is blessed with both ecological biodiversity in its natural environment and cultural diversity among its peoples. This has produced an eclectic range of phenomena, from ancient temples to textile arts, and from vernacular architecture to a wide range of performance arts.

A mere 100 examples from this cultural cornucopia are featured in this book, in an attempt to highlight a representative selection, boldly identified as the “Top Cultural Wonders of Indonesia”. Everyone will have their own favourites and an opinion on what else should have been included; it was not easy to limit the selection, and the necessary omission of so many other examples in no way reflects on their value.

With notable experts writing on each subject covered, the Top 100 Cultural Wonders of Indonesia traces the nation’s evocative history, dating back hundreds of years, through artefacts or sites. It also looks at newer forms of expression, such as ancient rituals that have managed to accommodate a contemporary contextualisation and retain both their vitality and relevance.

Subjects range from ancient temple complexes to sophisticated socio-cultural phenomena such as the Balinese subak system of rice-field irrigation, from historical vernacular architectural design to newer forms of construction that mark the transition from the colonial era to the birth of the Republic.

Material artistic traditions such as textiles, kris, or embroidery are accorded recognition as important in tangible heritage that is both colourful and intricate in form as well as imbued with deep cultural significance. A wide range of performance arts—from sacred rituals to popular secular forms—is presented chronologically to show the progression from ancient times to the present.

Some of the cultural wonders featured in this publication have already won international recognition through their appearance on UNESCO World Heritage lists. It is therefore anticipated that this book will also help inspire readers to appreciate and preserve the heritage in their midst.

This volume is the first step in a longer process of unearthing, documenting, and acknowledging the many other forms of cultural expression in Indonesia for the benefit of both the nation and the wider world.