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7 Historical Places in Surabaya that Brought You Back to the Colonial Era

by Vina Krisna Yanti
Heroes Monument, Surabaya

Indonesia has long history in gaining its independence in 1945 which includes a long story of colonialism and imperialism from other nations. All regions of Indonesia were affected by the colonialism, but one which is titled as the city of heroes is Surabaya.

Surabaya is the city of East Java and it is known as the city of heroes due to its young people’s flaring spirit to fight against the colonialism and the role of the Battle of Surabaya during the Indonesian National Revolution.

Considering its history, it only makes sense that there are many historical places that are still well-preserved in Surabaya up to this day. If you want to learn more about the history of Indonesia, then these historical stories and places are the reasons why you should visit Surabaya.

We have prepared a list of 7 historical places in Surabaya that could breathe you back to the colonial era and open up your mind about how it was like back in the day.

1. Heroes Monument

Heroes Monument, Surabaya

Heroes Monument was built in order to commemorate the heroes who died in the Battle of Surabaya on 10 November 1945. It was built on 10 November 1951 and was inaugurated on 10 November 1952 by Ir. Soekarno, the first president of Indonesia. It is located in the area of Kebonrejo garden, in front of the office of East Java Governor.

It is also the landmark of Surabaya City as the city of heroes. It is 41 meters high. The ornaments designed on the monument are used to symbolized the flaring spirits of the young people in Surabaya in fighting for their independence. You can visit this monument everyday except for Monday from 08.00AM-02.30PM by paying IDR2,000 only.

You can also visit 10 November Museum which is located in the same area as the monument. You can learn many things about the Battle of Surabaya and how it embarks the independence of Indonesia.

One of the important documentations of the battle that are showcased in this museum is the voice transcript of Bung Tomo, an important hero who flared the motivation of Indonesian to fight against colonialism.

Visiting this monument will give you further insight about the struggle of Indonesian in fighting for their independence and build your knowledge about the history of Indonesia. You might want to read landmarks of cities in Indonesia and see what historical stories they have

2. Internatio Building

Internatio Building

Internatio Building, which originally named Internationale Crediten Handelvereeniging, is an old building with oldies architecture from the Dutch colonial era that covers many historical stories. Visiting this place will surely breathe you back to how it was during the colonial days.

It was originally used as a place to manage the trading during the Dutch East Indies. Besides, it was also used as the basecamp for the headquarters of the allied forces in Surabaya.

It was also the place where the battle between Surabayan and the allied forces occured on 30 October 1945 which embarked the Battle of Surabaya on 10 November 1945.

3. Darmo Hospital

Darmo Hospital

Darmo Hospital was built by the Dutch colonial in 1897 with the name Soerabajasche Zieken Verpleging or SVC. It was only a small clinic on Ngemplak Street which was then relocated to Darmo Street.

It holds important roles for the Dutch forces during the battle since it was used as the headquarter for the military forces of the Dutch.

The hospital is still standing firmly on Darmo Street and it is still functioned as a hospital up to this day. It becomes the oldest hospital in Surabaya.

Even though some parts might have gone under renovation, you can still view the oldies architecture of the hospital which indicates the colonial era.

4. HOS Tjokroaminito Residence

HOS Tjokroaminoto Residence

Hadji Oemar Said (HOS) Tjokroaminoto is an important figure who sparked the national movement and the idea of ​​independence with independent government in 1916, far before Indonesia gained its independence in 1945. He is a highly important and respected figure in Indonesia.

His residence that is located at Peneleh Street, Surabaya is the place where many important figures of Indonesia were having discussion about the national movement and the strategies to fight for the independece of Indonesia. It was also the place where the important figures lived for a while.

This makes the residence takes an important part for the history of Indonesia. For this reason, on 27 November 2017, the residence is opened as a historical museum where visitors could take a look at the bedroom and the living room of HOS Tjokroaminoto, as well as the room where Ir. Soekarno stayed during his school days.

There are also other historical museums in Indonesia which you can visit to expand your historical knowledge about Indonesia. They are best museums in Semarang, museums in Banten, and museums in Aceh.

5. The Red Bridge, Surabaya

The Red Bridge, Surabaya

The Red Bridge in Surabaya was used as the center of trading during the Dutch colonial era where many Chinese, European, and Arabian were having transaction. It was also used as the transportation chanel by VOC (Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie), the trading organization during the Dutch colonialism.

It also took part in the history as the witness of the battle between Surabayan and Brigadier General Mallaby’s troops which ended with the death of Brigadies General Mallaby.

The red color of the guardrail, which indicates the name of this bridge, is used to commemorate the bloddshed that occurred.

Initially, the bridge used a wooden fence as the barrier, but now it has been replaced with an iron fence. The bridge connects Rajawali Street and Kembang Jepun on the northern side of Surabaya.

6. Grahadi Building

Grahadi Building

Grahadi Building was designed by a Dutch architect named Ir. W. Lemci during the reign of Dirk Van Hogendorps in 1794-1798. It was initially used as a garden house where the officials of the Dutch rested or even held a meeting and parties.

The architecture resembles the European with 2 floors. Besides functioned for the Dutch, it was also the place where Ir. Soekarno was having a negotiation with General Hawtorn to stop the fights between Indonesian and the allies.

This building is now functioned as the place where the Governor of East Java welcomes the guests and the place where national ceremonies are held.

7. Kalisosok Prison

Kalisosok Prison

Located on the northernmost of Surabaya, Kalisosok Prison also covers a lot of stories that are related to the Battle of Surabaya. It was the place where important figues of Indonesia were prisoned since they were considered as a threat for the colonialism. These figures include W.R. Soepratman, K.H. Mas Mansyur, HOS Tjokroaminoto, and even Ir. Soekarno.

It was built on 1 September 1808 and is still well-preserved up to this day. The governement even preserves this prison as a historical and cultural site.

The building itself looks terrifying and horror, just like how old prison would look like. On the outer side, however, you can see colorful walls of mural with the theme of nationalism.

Visiting these 7 historical places will not be a regret since you can learn many things about the history of Indonesia while also picture how the colonial era would feel and look like since the vibes of the places could breathe you back to the era.

These places are considered important by Indonesians since they believe, as what Ir. Soekarno have said, that it is their duty to never forget the struggle of the heroes in fighting for the independence.

So, which place do you want to visit first?

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