If anything can be considered the landmark in the city of Merauke, the Time Capsule Monument is certainly at the top of the list. The monument, which began construction in 2016 and established in 2018 has since become a popular tourist attraction in the centre of the city, drawing visitors from all over the country. The structure was the brainchild of the Indonesian President, Joko Widodo during the 70th Anniversary of Independence in 2015.
A special expedition across Indonesia was then initiated to gather messages for the capsule, conveying the hopes and dreams of the younger generation for the country’s future. The expedition began in the west, crossing 34 provinces over the distance of roughly 25.000 kilometres to reach its destination in Merauke, the easternmost point of Indonesia. The messages contained are diverse, but generally convey feelings of optimism for the country’s future. The seven wishes contained within the capsule include for Indonesia to be the centre for education and technology, to uphold ethics, being free from corruption, and becoming an influential country in the Asia Pacific.
One of the most noteworthy aspects of the monument, and one frequently remarked upon by those familiar with it is its shape when seen from above. From the sky, the monument resembles a large letter A, noted to be similar to the logo of the Avengers, superhero characters from the blockbuster films by Marvel studios. The President himself has commented on the resemblance on occasion. The location of the monument so close to the airport also means that passengers approaching the city will have a clear view from the air to see for themselves.
The architecture was apparently designed to be rich in symbolism. The monument is 17 metres wide, 8 metres in height, and 45 metres in length. These numbers are instantly recognisable to Indonesians, as they represent the date of Indonesia’s independence on 17 August 1945. The symbolism also extends to incorporating Papuan culture into the design. The five gates leading to the monument’s centre represent the five tribes of Merauke, the Malind, Muyu, Mandobo, Mappi dan Auyu.
The day we visited the site, the area was quiet. A few people can be seen around the boundaries. A few children were running and others sitting on the grass. Others are seen walking around the edges. The large open field around the monument is frequently used for large open-air events such as concerts. The site is also located directly across the road from the local government headquarters.
As we walk around the monument, we see stairs leading upwards to the time capsule. After going up a flight of 100 or so steps, the bluish-green sphere of the time capsule comes into view. We pose for photos in front, as many do when visiting this landmark. At the top, a scenic view of the surrounding area unfolds.
The time capsule will be opened in 2085, 70 years after its inception. The opening will undoubtedly be a festive event with much fanfare and celebration. More importantly, it will reveal once and for all whether the best wishes of the young generation for the country’s bright future have come to pass.