People associate Lawang Sewu, one of the famous landmarks in Semarang, with horror stories. The urban myth says that the historical building is haunted. Located at Jalan Pemuda, Semarang, in front of a hero monument call Tugu Muda. The three-story building, along with the surrounding area, was a witness to a long and perilous history.
Lawang Sewu is built by the Dutch in 1907 and used the building as its central office for the East Indies Railway Company. During World War II, Lawang Sewu later occupies by the Japanese. Besides utilizing it as the transportation headquarters, the basement was converted into torture rooms and a prison.
Later in 1945, the building was a witness to the unpleasant scene of a bloody battle. The building begins to get its haunting reputation. After the war over, and after decades of neglect, the Semarang government rebrand Lawang Sewu. And 2011 marks the beginning of it, as it becomes a tourist destination.
A series of work and renovation has been done to eliminate its former horror reputation. Besides renovation, it becomes a hub for cultural activities. A portion of the building also serves as a museum, the Indonesian Railway system.
The Dutch Architecture in Central Java
Lawang Sewu is an architectural masterpiece. Blasting the art deco style combines with the Dutch architecture with tropical practicality. Doors and large windows line up on its high wall rooms. It specifically helps to circulate a good airflow, particularly through the summer.
This structure inspires its name, which means a thousand doors in Javanese. The lobby area adorns by stained glass. Refracting morning lights beautifully. The stained glass portrays two Roman Goddesses, Fortuna and Venus. Facing the logo of The Dutch Railway Company.
The building material mostly imports from Europe. The granite stones for the floor coming from a mine in Bavaria, Germany. Plan hours to explore every detail of the interior. Even a strange corner of the building has its own interesting story.
Or in some cases, horrors. Take a look at the basement in Building B. Where it used to be a torture room and a prison. The tour can really result in a spectrum of emotions.
Reminisce Of The Past
The beautiful building witnesses plenty of dark history. Imagine a group of soldiers go and about between Lawang Sewu’s high roof corridor. Prepare for the battle. During the five-days “Battle of Semarang” in 1945, the Sewu building is a site where bodies fall.
Many soldiers captured and prisoners executed. Visit Lawang Sewu on 14 October. At this date every year, Lawang Sewu hosts a theatrical show to commemorate this battle.
Traceback the history of trains in Indonesia from the Dutch era to the present days. Before the wars, Lawang Sewu was an office for a railway company. Many pieces of equipment from that era remained here. It includes a large collection of typewriters and calculating machines.
At the front yard, a steam train locomotive is on display. Besides, the first railway line in Indonesia was built in Semarang as well. Learn a number of ancient stations in Indonesia. There are old pictures of trains, railways, and constructions of the building too.
Lawang Sewu Railway Museum also keeps a collection of old train’s spare parts and tools. To get more in-depth information, visit the library and the archive room.
Evening at Lawang Sewu
People coming to Lawang Sewu and expect a horror experience might as well get prepared to disappoint. The building is open until late in the evening. However, the spooky feeling that once radiates through the doors now completely gone. As it turns out, Lawang Sewu at night is breathtakingly beautiful.
Enjoy the sparkle coming from bright, colorful lamps at the building’s every corner. The lighting enhances Lawang Sewu’s already remarkable architecture. Take a slow walk on its corridor in a dreamy evening. Occasionally, recognize a heartwarming scene.
As couples having their pre-wedding photos taken at this building. Lawang Sewu had witnessed too many tragedies in the past. It is time for some warmth and romance.
Lawang Sewu Opening Hours
The good news for visitors, it has long operational hours. The heritage building opens daily for visitors from 7 AM to 9 PM.
|Lawang Sewu Opening Hours|
|Every day||07:00 – 21:00|
Lawang Sewu Entrance Fee
The ticket is unbelievably cheap at Rp10.000. It charges the same entrance fee both for locals and foreigners. There is a guide service Rp75.000 for an hour tour. A guide is not required but considering the buildings’ has a rich history. Strolling with a guide is clearly helpful. Besides, guides here also like to tell the building horror stories.
|Lawang Sewu Entrance Fee|
Lawang Sewu has clean and well-maintain toilets. Parking is spacious, and there are also a nursery room and a smoking area. Hungry visitors can find food and drinks at the canteen here. There’s also a library and an archive room too besides the railway museum.
How To Get To Lawang Sewu
The city Semarang itself is accessible from any major city in Indonesia either by plane, bus, or train. The historic building located in the city center. And it’s very easy to reach. The building is in front of the Tugu Muda roundabout. One of the busiest roads in Semarang.
Visitors can go by taxi from the airport Ahmad Yani – it is close, only 6.5 km. Lawang Sewu is only 3.5 km from Tawang Railway Station and around 7 km from Terboyo Bus Terminal. Other than using a taxi, visitors can take public bus Trans Semarang route 1 (blue line) and stop at Jl. Pemuda Shelter to get here.
Address & Location
The historical building is located in Jl. Pemuda, Sekayu, Semarang, Jawa Tengah 50132.