Semarang The Capital of Central Java
Discover Old Town City
The Old Town - The Lumpiah City - The Lawang Sewu Home
Discover Old Town City
The Capital Central Java Provincy
Semarang is situated on Java’s northern coast and it is the capital of Central Java. From Candi Hill you get amazing views of the port, the lowlands and green paddy fields, the city itself and the surrounding mountains. The environs around Semarang are perfect for day trips and side-excursions. In the older part of the city, near the harbor, you can still find an interesting collection of buildings dating back to the Dutch colonial era and the Dutch East Indies Company. The city offers evening performances of Wayang drama played by live actors and dancers at Ngesti Pandowo Theatre. For sport fans there are tennis courts in all major hotels and 2 golf courses located in the town’s suburbs. For short trips out of Semarang within radius of about 60 kilometers, the following places are recommended: Jepara, northeast of Semarang, is surrounded by white sandy beaches, and also famous for its wood carving industry. An ancient Portuguese Fort can be found in the east of Jepara. Kudus, about halfway between Jepara and Semarang is home to the Minaret Mosque, which was built in the 15th century. It is also famed for its kretek (traditional clove cigarette) industry. The city of Demak is home to Masjid Agung Demak, Java’s oldest mosque.
The name Lawang Sewu originates from the Javanese language, implied because of its architectural design. The name of this building literally means "a thousand doors", in fact, this landmark has less than a thousand of doors. Still, there are numerous doors and arches. It also completed with approximately hundreds of large windows that resemble the shape of its doors.
Borobudur Temple is the largest Buddhist temple of 123 x 123 meters from the 9th century. This temple was built centuries before Angkor Wat Temple in Cambodia. It has 1.460 reliefs and 504 stupas inside the complex. It is so stunning. So, it is not surprising if this temple enlisted in the World Wonder Heritages is a place many people yearn for.
This temple was built to serve as a place to perform rituals and it was finally done after nearly a century from the first time it was started. The name “Borobodur”, according to some people, means a mountain with many terraces (budhara), whilst some others said that Borobudur meant a monastery built in a higher ground.
Borobudur is a terraced construction comprising 10 levels and 42 meters of height. The six lower levels come in a square form and the three higher level come in circular form and one level which is the highest is a Buddha statue called stupa which stands facing the west.
Every level has beautiful reliefs which will be orderly interpreted when they are traced clockwise (the east side of the temple entrance). Those reliefs account the Ramayana epic and the condition of the society at that time. But, on the whole, the reliefs found in Borobudur Temple reflect the teachings of Buddhism.
It is not hard at all to reach this tourism site. Borobudur Temple is located in Magelang Regency, Central Java. It only takes an hour drive from the city center of Jogjakarta. The tourists who want to visit this temple are recommended not to wear shorts or mini trousers in order to show some respect to the ‘sacred’ site of the Buddhist followers. But, if you happen to wear them, you can have long cloth by renting it from the management of the site.
Mendut temple Besides Borobudur Temple, Magelang Regency also boasts other Buddhist temples. One of them is the Mendut Temple which is located close to Borobudur Temple, only about three kilometers to the east. This temple is often used as the site of the celebration of Waisak Day that falls in the full moon in every May and this celebration invite pilgrims from Indonesia as well as overseas.
Mendut Temple, which is older than Borobudur Temple, has three huge statue: Cakyamuni which sits in cross-legged position with the hand turning the wheel of duty, Avalokitesvara as Bodhisattva help humans and Maitreya as the savior of humans in the future. At the temple walls we can enjoy reliefs that tell children stories. It is a square-shape construction of many levels with an entrance right on the stairs. Its roof also comes in square shape with stupa on it.
Besides Borobudur and Mendut Temple, there is also this smaller temple called Ngawen Temple located in Magelang. This temple can be found in Ngawen Village, some five kilometers before Mendut Temple from the direction of Jogjakarta. This temple is located in the middle of rice fields so that it is so tempting for the tourists to visit it and at the same time enjoying the green scenery of rice fields.
Ngawen Temple consists of five small temples, two of them have different shape decorated with lion statues on it four corners. A headless Buddha statue in a sitting position can be found in one of the temples. Reliefs on the sides are also worth looking at because they are still in a clear and good shape and they are the sculptures of Kinnara, Kinnari and Kalamakara.
Bandungan and Gedong Songo Temple. This is a holiday resort on the slopes of Mt. Ungaran, about 900 meters above sea level. Gedong Songo (nine buildings) is a group of small 8th century Hindu Javanese temples that can be reached either by car or on horseback from Ungaran. Built at about the same time as the temples of the Dieng complex, Gedong Songo is one of the most beautiful temple complexes in Central Java. The views alone are worth the trip.
Tlogo Plantation has cool air and beautiful view with various plantations such as coffee, rubber, nutmeg and cloves. It is located 6 kilometers or only 10 minutes drive from Ambarawa Railway Museum.
Dieng Plateau. About 4 hours from Semarang is the Dieng Plateau, the site of some of the oldest Hindu temples on Java. The 50-foot high structures stand on the crater floor amidst sulfurous fumes. The road to the Dieng Plateau passes through tobacco plantations and beautiful mountain scenery.
Baturaden Central Java’s most popular resort is approximately 14 kilometers north of Purwokerto, an administrative town in the southern end of Java. It occupies a beautiful spot on the slopes of Mount Slamet, 650 meters above sea level. The cool air, lush gardens, soothing pine forest, relaxing hot springs, ponds and bungalowstyle hotels offer a rejuvenating retreat for the tired body and soul.
A magnificent cave near Pantai Ayah (Ayah Beach) 170 kilometers from Solo. It also has a beautiful tunnel containing stalagmites and stalactites. The cave has a number of lakes and rivers that beckon the more adventurous visitors to explore.
Sangiran Park is an area where Fossil Museum and archeological site of Sangiran is located. Sangiran is a the largest prehistoric site in the world because it extends in an area of 56 km2 land. Apart of being such an interesting and unique tourism destination, Sangiran also serves as a research site for prehistoric life which is the most important and complete in Asia, even in the world. Sangiran is in Sragen, Central java or some 20 km off the city of Solo.
Sangiran area became so popular when the fossil of the lower jaw of the ‘Java Man’ Pithecanthropus erectus was found. In this area as many as 13 thousands fossils have been found. These fossils are of humans, animals, prehistoric plants. Other than seeing the collection of fossils kept in the museum, the tourists can also enjoy the fresh air of the hills around the museum compound.
It’s not that hard for the tourists who want to visit this area to arrive at Sangiran. From Solo, tourists can rent a car and drive there for about a couple of hours or take a public transportation which is so available when they depart from the city of Solo.
Located some 50 kilometers south of Semarang, the museum houses a collection of locomotives of various type and era. Visitors can take a nostalgic cog railway ride from Ambarawa to Bedono, a nearby village. Prior arrangements should be made for groups. Also of interest are a collection of antique telephones and other instrument used in railway communication.
Gong Cave is located along the road to Pacitan, some 70 kilometers south of Solo. Locals still believe that on certain Fridays the sounds of a traditional ‘jaranan’ gong being played can be heard coming from deep inside the cave.
Waisak (Vesak) Ceremony, Magelang. This grand celebration of the birth of the Buddha is held at Borobudur and Mendut temples and attended by devotees from all over Indonesia and abroad.
This festival was held to mark the commencement of Ramadan fasting in Semarang. The celebration that has been started since the colonial period is enlivened by a number of firecrackers and fireworks. The name “dugderan” comes from the “Dug” sound coming from the bedug (drum that are used by Muslim for religious purposes) that sounded at the time of Maghrib prayer call. While “deran” is supposedly to be the sound of the firecrackers.