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Lawang Sewu

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Doors or windows?

This place is actually the only place I know about Semarang. A lot of my friends visited and talked about this place. There’s also famous local reality show, Dunia Lain (The Other World) that set their show here. So, when we were planning to go to Semarang, this is the first on our itinerary list.

The name Lawang Sewu means Thousand Doors, but  among the local Javanese the name conotates an eerie haunted house with a tragic history.  This Dutch colonial building was built in 1863  by C. Citroen. It was the branch office for the Dutch Indonesian train company but when the Japanese invaded in 1942, they used it as a gruesome interrogation headquarter where they jailed and killed a lot of Indonesians.  Long standing reports of multiple ghost sightings in this building has turned it into a local destination for young  students & tourists who would make their  visit on weekend nights to experience this legendary haunted house.

Well, there were no thousands doors there. But, yes, this building was built with lots of high and wide windows that locals called as doors. We went there around 4PM. Lucky us! Because I am not sure we have enough courage to go there when it’s getting darker. We have to pay 10 000 IDR for the ticket and another 30 000 IDR for the guide. You better get a guide and leave your i-know-it-all attitude behind. You don’t want to get lost in one of those doors, I am telling you!

A vast yard with one big tree on the side welcomed us. I frowned looking at that tree, suspecting something spooky might relate to it. We took some picture admiring that colonial architecture. Unfortunate for us, that building A is still under renovation. We can not enter it. We can only took some picture on the outer part of the building. Not much to see here.  So we headed to building B.








There were lots of aisles and long and wide rooms. They were to me like ballrooms but our guide said they were office rooms. In seconds my mind wandered picturing Dutch officers working behind big wooden desks occupying these large room spaces. There was also a basement said to be used as natural room cooler. Hundred years ago air conditioning, I would say. It was dark and flooded because it was raining the other night. The Dunia Lain reality show took their shooting here to get a vision of ghost and spirits. We skipped that part. No, thank you. There were also stairs to more identical rooms and aisles.

There was one particular staircase that our guide did not suggest us to climb. I was wondering why. So, I asked her about it. It turned out to be a staircase to attic. It’s just an attic right? my mind wandered as I climbed up. She explained further as I am about to reach the attic that it is a place where the Japanese slaughtered people. In a sudden, a chill breeze caught me! It was all wooden. She said it was the only place in the building that was made with wood. The room was big and spacious, damp and dark. I just cannot imagine hundreds of Indonesian slaughtered there. EW!

Then we rushed down and got to the side yard. There was a old locomotive there. People swarming to take picture on and around it. So do we! 😉

As we walk on the side yard, we were welcomed by an afternoon light. The afternoon sunlight brought a good mood to us after a trail inside a very dusty old building. The Mbak (Lady in local dialect, Javanese) said that it does not matter whether it’s day or not, if they want to show themselves, then we will bump into any of them. Too many people died tragically. Too many spirits that were wandering unrestful there. Ah! Thankfully we did not see any spirit there.

After giving a tip to Mbak, we had our last glance. And said goodbye to Lawang Sewu. A nice trip. I hope if i have another chance to visit it, building A are already opened for public. People said there were a lot of stained glass. Hmm…

Anyway. Another time.

Bye now.



Written by vallaura

December 17, 2011 at 7:37 AM

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