Semarang, Indonesia

Indonesia was a former Dutch colony. Semarang, our second Java stop, was a major port town during the Dutch colonial era. Thus, Dutch colonial buildings can be easily located here, mostly around Old Quarter. Some have been renovated to turn into a cafe, restaurant, administrative building or art gallery. But I believe greater efforts could have and should be poured in to preserve them. It is a shame, really, because poor maintenance seemed to be a common problem among not just the historical, religious sites but also the lodgings/ hostels. In fact, I would like to think such a matter outlined some important characteristics of the people in this region (ya, including my fellow Malaysians) but I shall leave the debate of it out of this blog.

Gereja Blenduk/ Dome church

Architecture around Old Quarter. Half of the time we were chilling inside either the art gallery or the cafe having coffee and beers. We could have explored the interiors of these buildings more. Alas, it was simply too hot to move around much.

We did stroll a bit further with our motorbike to stumble across what seemed to be a church and some residential housing.

The Great Mosque of Central Java. No stranger to mosques since I live in Malaysia but I must admit this is the most majestic and unique mosque I have come across. And this attraction was also part of the reason I included Semarang in my itinerary. We arrived before noon, waited for it to reopen after lunch break just so we could take the lift to the uppermost floor of the viewing tower to have a bird’s-eye view of the mosque and nearby towns.

Lawang Sewu. This landmark used to be the headquarters of the Dutch East Indies Railway Company and is lined with numerous doors and windows. After World War II, a battle broke out there and many died at the scene. Rumor has it that the building is haunted. If I am not mistaken, public is forbidden to visit the place after 6pm or 630pm. We almost couldn’t make it that afternoon but in the end, we managed to stay until it was almost dark. When night fell, the whole building was brightly lit, looking mystical from afar.