Lawang Sewu

Historic Building in Semarang

Semarang's most famous landmark, Lawang Sewu ('Thousand Doors'), comprises two colossal colonial buildings that were one of the headquarters of the Indonesian railways during the Dutch era. The structures are sparsely used with only the occasional exhibit (mostly about the railway system) on view. Nevertheless, the empty corridors, where clerks and engineers once worked, have their own interest, with features including stained glass and a magnificent marble staircase.

Wandering the illuminated buildings at night, there is a strong sense of history and a chill rising from the open door to the unlit basement. Little wonder, then, that the building is regarded as a haunted house by locals. In fact, during WWII the Japanese occupied the building and used the dungeons for interrogation. Occasionally tours of the flooded basement are run – described by some as a deeply moving experience.


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