Constructed in 1695, the Gereja Sion church is the oldest in Jakarta. It is a Portuguese Church. The church was built for the ‘black Portuguese’ who were brought to Jakarta from Portugal to serve as slaves.
The black Portuguese were natives and Eurasians who were captured from the Indian trading posts and eventually turned into slaves once they reached Batavia. At that time, Jakarta was known as Batavia.
These slaves were generally Catholics but they were set free after agreeing to follow the Dutch Reformed Church. The liberated slaves who were eventually converted came to be known as Mardijker.
The church is located outside the old city walls. It has a decorated interior of copper chandeliers, original organ and a pulpit decorated in Baroque style.
Another popular attraction is the ornate tombstone of Governor General Hendrick Zwaardecroon among the graves of commoners. He was buried here in 1728 according to his wishes.
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