Surabaya is a city filled with historical places left over from the Dutch colonial era. The city is filled with Dutch inspired colonial buildings and structures. One of the historical spots in the city is the 41-meter high Heroes Monument found along JL Pahlawan just opposite of the East Java Governor’s office. The Heroes Monument commemorates the Battle of Surabaya held on November 10, 1945. Also called the Tugu Pahlawan, the monument was built to convey the humble pride of the heroes during the historical Surabaya battle. During that day, Surabaya citizens fought against the Allied and Dutch forces that had plans to occupy Indonesia once again.
The Heroic Monument soon became a Surabaya landmark. Built on a 2.5 hectare piece of land, the monument is famous for having the shape of an upside down nail. The 41-meter monument consists of 10 curves and 11 parts. The area where it now stands used to be the location of the High Courthouse or the Raad van Justitie during the Dutch colonial era.
Then-president Soekarno was the first person to have laid the cornerstone on the monument on November 10, 1951, exactly six years after the battle. A year after its construction, the building was opened to the public by President Soekarno. For the same purpose, other statues were built around Surabaya that also served as battlefields during the historic day such as the Jayengrono Garden that was turned into the Red Bridge and the Plaza Contong found along Tais Nasution Street which is now the Sharp-pointed bamboo.
To complete the historical facility, a museum was opened later on called the Perjuangan Sepuluh Museum. The museum is home to collections of weapons, photos, statues and diorama of the Battle of Surabaya. The museum is also home to a visual auditorium that shows a film about the historical day in 1945. It provides a great look into what really happened during the Battle for the East Java Capital.
During the time of the Japanese, the building found next to the monument was named the Kempetai (or Kempeitai) building and was used as a military police base camp where many Indonesians were arrested, judged, tortured and even killed for their resistance to the Japanese forces. During the Battle of Surabaya in 1945, the Courthouse was then destroyed by the Allied Force Army but some claim that the building was mobbed by a large group of local youth.
An entrance fee of 2000 Rp is charged per person to enter the museum. The museum is open from Tuesday to Saturdays from 8 in the morning to 3 in the afternoon and on Sundays from 8 to 1 in the afternoon. The large open square where the monument is erected is also the site of grand celebrations every year, especially during November 10 when the nation celebrates Heroes Day.
The Heroes Monument is indeed an unforgettable icon that commemorates the brave people of Surabaya who risked their lives for the city that they love. It is but a mere representation of patriotism in the highest form and how the city continues to commemorate the heroic acts of the people.