Bandung is the capital of West Java province in Indonesia, and the country's third largest city, and 2nd largest metropolitan area in Indonesia, with 7.4 million in 2007. Located 768 m (2,520 ft) above sea level, Bandung has cooler temperatures year-around than most other Indonesian cities. The city lies in a river basin surrounded by volcanic mountains. This topography provides a good natural defense system, which was the primary reason for the Dutch East Indies government's plan to move the colony capital from Batavia to Bandung.
The Dutch colonials first opened tea plantations around the mountains in the eighteenth century, followed by a road construction connecting the plantation area to the capital (180 km or 112 miles to the northwest). The European inhabitants of the city demanded the establishment of a municipality (gemeente), which was granted in 1906 and Bandung gradually developed itself into a resort city for the plantation owners. Luxurious hotels, restaurants, cafes and European boutiques were opened of which the city was dubbed as Parijs van Java (Dutch: "The Paris of Java"). After Indonesian independence on 1945 onwards, the city experienced a rapid development and urbanization that has transformed Bandung from idyllic town into a dense 16500 people/km² metropolitan area, a living space for over 2 million people. Natural resources have been exploited excessively, particularly in the conversions of protected upland area into highland villa and real estates. Although the city has encountered many problems (ranging from waste disposal, floods to chaotic traffic system, etc.), Bandung however still has its charm to attract people flocking into the city, either as weekend travellers or living in.
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