Lawang Sewu....The Building With A Thousand Doors
Trip Start Feb 15, 2012
25Trip End Feb 20, 2012
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Read my review - 5/5 stars
Read my review - 5/5 stars
Once we landed and cleared immigration and customs, we were met by the guide and the driver. From the airport, within twenty minutes drive, we arrived at this junction in the middle of Semarang City. This is quite a big city and is the major port for the Central Java province.
At this junction, first we visited the Tugu Muda or Youth Monument which is the icon of Semarang. This was built to commemorate the sufferings that the local people went through during the Japanese occupation of Indonesia. From this monument, this building was clearly visible.
This building is called Lawang Sewu or the building with 1000 doors. This was originally built as the office of Nederlands Indische Spoorweg Maatschappi or also known as NIS. NIS was the National Railway office of Semarang. The construction of this building started in the year 1904 and was completed in the year 1907. The design of this building was done in Netherlands in the year 1903.
The locals call this building Lawang Sewu as it has many doors but in actual fact the number of doors does not amount to 1000. This building is fitted with oblong stained windows and this was once confused as doors by the locals, thus making it seem like having a thousand doors, though from my observation, it seemed to have ridiculous number of doors which you could see from the photos.
Even after the independence, the local government continued to use this building as the administrative office of the local railways. The was also a time period where this building went through it dark and gloomy days during the occupation of the Japanese. There are underground tunnels in this building which was originally used for city irrigation but then, during the Japanese occupation, the Japanese had used these tunnels as prison cells for the locals and mass assassination had also occurred on the third floor of this building.
Today, this building is gazetted as a National monument. There is a small entrance fee to visit this building and local trained guides accompany us throughout the visit thus explaining every detail in the building. All the artefacts in this building are well maintained right up to the fixtures in the toilets. Even the tiles are in very good condition and are the originals.
There is also an entire floor which was used as a badminton court by the Dutch during their occupation which is still maintained till this day. Of course, during the night, no one would go near this building as there are so many stories about this building being haunted and the numerous sighting stories that have been passed on by word of mouth.
Well, with this iconic building visited, we move on to our next destination in Semarang.