During 2011 till mid of 2012 i was living in Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia. The main and only reason was because of work. I remember the first night arrived in Surabaya, i was crying in the hotel. I was a bit scared, lonely, and also missing the life i left behind in Bandung. It turned out that i had a great life in Surabaya. I met some great friends that i still keep in touch until now. I met some great colleagues that feels like family. Oh, mentioning them make me miss them.
One of the interesting experience i had was to explore this city. As a “tourist” in Surabaya, my friends and i always tried to find something to do in the weekend, always.
One day, me and of course the same partner in crime as in India, decided to rent a car with a driver to explore the unseen of Surabaya. The historical, cultural, and architectural places that interesting for us. Here are the list,
Jalesveva Jayamahe Monument
This monument is located inside Indonesia Navy Complex. Honestly, its a bit difficult to enter this area since this is a military government complex. We almost gave up but our driver saved us – he was curious too. After talked with plenty of people inside the office for almost two hours, finally we found the right person that have authority to accompany us inside the monument area.
Jalesveva Jayamahe is the motto of Indonesian Navy. Its a Sanskrit language, meaning “In the ocean we triumph”. We need to remember that Indonesia is a nation with more than 17,500 islands. I think the total area of the sea is bigger than total area of the land. This requires a strong Navy forces.
Jalesveva Jayamahe monument is a 30 m building with 30,6 m copper-statue on top of it. The statue depict a Commandant of Indonesian Maritime Army with his honour sword facing the sea, shown his confidence. The monument also function as a light house, to guide the nearby ships. Near the monument, there is a giant golden Gong, at least 4 m in diameter.
What interesting for me was to see and learn about Indonesian Great Navy. There was not much information about our great navy strength until i visited this place. My knowledge was only about Indonesian Navy history – not the current one.
Another monument about Indonesian Navy in same city is the “Monumen Kapal Selam”, located in Jalan Pemuda, the heart of Surabaya.
Klenteng Sanggar Agung
Klenteng is similar like temple in Kong Hu Cu or Buddhism. When i entered the gate, it didn’t feels like a Klenteng. A typical Klenteng always has Chinese ornaments with red as main colour. This is different. The gate and main building are using Javanese architecture, mostly using red brown bricks. The feel of Klenteng come when people enter the main building. There are statues of Deva/i, lights from red candles, and fragrances from incenses. Near the main building back door, there is the statue of golden dragon. Not far from that, there are a pair of big dragons statue facing the sea. If there is sands, this place will be a beautiful beach.
Masjid Muh Cheng Hoo
Above was a Klenteng with Javanese architecture. Masjid Muh Cheng Hoo is a mosque with Chinese architecture. This shown that culture blend was happening deeply in Surabaya. Its a common thing that Chinese generation in Surabaya can speak Javanese really well but can not speak Chinese.
Santa Maria Church
If you saw the photo of Santa Maria church, you will think that this church is not in Indonesia. The Spanish architecture of this church make you believe it.
House of Sampoerna – Surabaya Heritage Track
Surabaya and Sampoerna has quiet a history together. Sampoerna is a national leading cigarettes company in Indonesia. House of Sampoerna is a museum of Sampoerna history and brands. It also have hand-rolled cigarettes factory behind it. If you come in the working hour, you can see directly how Sampoerna made their hand-rolled cigarettes. All processes are made by hand in unbelievable speed.
House of Sampoerna provide free shuttle bus, named as Surabaya Heritage Track. Surabaya Heritage Track is a free tour inside Surabaya city. Depends on the theme, the tour guide will bring you to historical sites that match with the theme.
There are no ticket fees to visit all of those places. Only for the first place, you need to prepare “tips” for the officer – you know what i mean. :’)
Indonesia is very rich in cultures. Every province, every city has its uniqueness. For me, live in different places in Indonesia means learning Indonesia as nation, as a whole. Learning by interacting with the people, visiting the places, and understanding history behind it. Because by understanding our history, we understand ourselves. See you next time! :’)
House of Sampoerna : http://houseofsampoerna.museum/e_historybeauty_main.htm
Surabaya Heritage Track : http://houseofsampoerna.museum/e_sht_main.htm