The Old Town area of Surabaya is where most of the historical and impressive landmarks of the city can be found. Most of these structures exhibit the period of Dutch architecture with evident Chinese and Arabic influences. Despite many of these buildings and landmarks being in poor conditions, this part of Surabaya is still incredibly appealing.
The first settlement in Surabaya started at its northernmost regions where the port of the city is still located. Many of the landmarks and monuments found in the old city area are of great importance to the city of Surabaya. Some of these include the following:
- Ampel Mosque – The Ampel Mosque or the Masjid Ampel is a beautiful structure that was built in the 15th Century. Although a bit dated, the mosque found at the very end of the Arab Quarter has been restored many times. Its understated architecture, rows of stone columns, a three-tier roof and white tower make it resemble a mini lighthouse.
- Grand Mosque – The Grand Mosque or the Masjid Al Akbar is the city’s largest mosque and is the biggest of its kind in South East Asia. The Grand Mosque showcases stylish religious modern architecture that was only completed at the turn of the new millennium after taking eight years to complete. Its egg-shaped dome towers high above the Surabaya skyline with many elements of design that come together as a masterpiece.
- Red Bridge – Locally known as the Jembatan Merah, the Red Bridge was previously a battle site during the Battle of Surabaya in November of 1945. The bright red-colored bridge replaced a wooden incarnation in 1890 that connects the Kalan Kembang Jepun and the Jalan Rajawali Streets.
- Grahadi Building – This Dutch colonial style building serves as the official residence of the governor of the East Java region. The Grahadi building is more than 200 years old and is one of the best preserved buildings in the old town area. It is also often used as a venue for conventions and exhibitions.
- Mosque of Muhammad Cheng Hoo – Famous for its elaborate Chinese architectural style, the mosque was built in honor of famous Chinese Muslim explorer Cheng Ho. Its central octagon tower is certainly its crowning glory with a backdrop of plain and simple buildings making it a great contrast to the old city area.
- Jalesveva Jayamahe Monument – This huge statue depicts a man from the Indonesian Maritime Army with his sword as he looks out to sea. This monument has been an iconic symbol of the city. This imposing landmark, which is more than 30 meters high, is known to honor the achievements and importance of the Indonesian Navy to the country.
- Temple of Kong Co Kong Tik Cun Ong– Built in the 18th Century, this Buddha temple is endowed with golden Buddhas and red candles that invite in both Taoist and Confucian followers. The strong smell of incense can be traced from meters away, which is why the temple draws in a good crowd.
These landmarks and monuments have all proved their worth in their own right just by standing by the city for centuries. The Old Town of Surabaya is certainly of great historic value that has blessed Surabaya City with an identity of its own.