Surabaya (pronounced [surəˈbaja]) (formerly Soerabaja) is Indonesia’s second-largest city, and the capital of the province of East Java. It is located on the northern shore of eastern Java at the mouth of the Mas River and along the edge of the Madura Strait.

To Indonesians, it is known as “the city of heroes”, due to the importance of the Battle of Surabaya in galvanising Indonesian and international support for Indonesian independence during the Indonesian National Revolution.


Surabaya is locally believed to derive its name from the words sura or suro (shark) and baya or boyo(crocodile), two creatures which, in a local myth, fought each other in order to gain the title of “the strongest and most powerful animal” in the area according to a Jayabaya prophecy. This prophecy tells of a fight between a giant white shark and a giant white crocodile. Now the two animals are used as the city’s logo, the two facing each other while circling, as depicted in a statue appropriately located near the entrance to the city zoo. This folk etymology, though embraced enthusiastically by city leaders, is unverifiable. Alternate derivations proliferate: from the Javanese sura ing baya, meaning “bravely facing danger”; or from the use of surya to refer to the sun. Some people consider this Jayabaya prophecy as a great war between Surabaya native people and invaders in 1945, while another story is about two heroes that fought each other in order to be the king of the city. The two heroes were Sura and Baya.


The earliest record of Surabaya was in a 1225 book written by Chau Ju-Kua, in which it was called Jung-ya-lu, the ancient name of Surabaya. Ma Huan documented the early fifteen-century visit of Zheng He’s Treasure shipin his 1433 book Ying-yai Sheng-lan: “after travelling south for more than twenty li, the ship reached Sulumayi, whose foreign name is Surabaya. At the estuary, the outflowing water is fresh.”

In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, Surabaya was a sultanate and a major political and military power in eastern Java. It entered a conflict with, and was later captured by, the more powerful Sultanate of Mataram in 1625 under Sultan Agung. It was one of Mataram’s fiercest campaigns, in which they had to conquer Surabaya’s allies, Sukadana and Madura and to lay siege to the city before capturing it. With this conquest, Mataram then controlled almost the whole of Java, with the exception of the Sultanate of Banten and the Dutch settlement of Batavia.

The expanding East Indies Companies took the city over from a weakened Mataram in November 1743. Surabaya became a major trading center under the Dutch colonial government, and hosted the largest naval base in the colony. In 1917 a revolt occurred amongst the soldiers and sailors of Surabaya, led by the Indies Social Democratic Association. The revolt was firmly crushed and the insurgents given harsh sentences.

Japan occupied the city in 1942 as part of the occupation of Indonesia, and it was bombed by the Allies in 1944. After that it was seized by Indonesian nationalists. However, the young nation was soon put into conflict with the British who were care takers of the Dutch colony after the surrender of the Japanese.

The Battle of Surabaya was one of the most important battles of the Indonesian revolution. It was started after British Brigadier Mallaby was killed in October 30, 1945 near Jembatan Merah (the “Red Bridge”), allegedly by a stray bullet. The Allies gave an ultimatum to the Indonesian freedom fighters inside the city to surrender, but this was refused. The ensuing battle, which took thousands of lives, took place on 10 November, and is nowadays celebrated as Heroes’ Day (Hari Pahlawan). The incident of the red-white flag (the Dutch national red-white-and-blue flag at the top of Yamato Hotel’s tower that was torn into the Indonesian red-white flag) by Bung Tomo is also recorded as a heroic feat during the struggle of this city.

The City

As the main seaport and commercial center in the eastern region of Indonesia, Surabaya has become one of the largest cities in Southeast Asia. Today, Surabaya’s population is around three million, and the surrounding rural area houses at least 7 million. The areas surrounding Surabaya include Lamongan to the northwest, Gresik to the west, Bangkalan to the northeast, Sidoarjo to the south, and Mojokerto and Jombang to the southwest.

On Wednesday, 10 June 2009 the Suramadu Bridge between Surabaya and the island of Madura; was completed and it is currently the longest bridge in the country. Madura can also be accessed by a ferry service that operates regularly from Surabaya’s port, Tanjung Perak (which literally means: “Silver Cape” in Indonesian).

The Adhiwangsa, Taman Beverly, and Water Place Residences are three of the tallest skyscrapers in Surabaya.

Plaza Tunjungan, Galaxy Mall, Surabaya Plaza, Supermal Pakuwon Indah, Surabaya Town Square, and Royal Plaza Surabaya are the famous shopping centres in Surabaya. Surabaya is home to the Eastern Armada, one of two in the Indonesian Navy. Its strong maritime heritage is also reflected with the Submarine Monument, a real retired Russian submarine, called Pasopati, that was converted into amuseum ship in the city centre. Flooding is common in many areas of the city during the rainy season, mostly caused by clogged sewers and inept bureaucracy. The fact that Surabaya is located in a river delta and has a flat and relatively low elevation doesn’t help the matter either.

Surabaya is the location of the only synagogue in Indonesia, but it rarely obtains a minyan. There is also a Jewish cemetery in the city.

Surabaya’s zoo, opened in 1916, was the first in the world to have successfully bred orangutans in captivity.

Other points of interest include:

  • Grand Mosque of Surabaya, the largest mosque in East Java.
  • Cheng Ho Mosque, the first mosque in Indonesia built with Chinese-style architecture.
  • Jales Veva Jaya Mahe Monument, a large, admiral-like statue whichcommemorates the Indonesian Navy.
  • Mpu Tantular Museum, has a large collection of ancient Javanese artifacts.
  • Monkasel, abbreviated from Monumen Kapal Selam (English: Submarine Monument)
A Soviet-built submarine display (named KRI Pasopati (410)), which proudly served in Indonesian Navy since 1962.

Launched in 1952 and since her decommisioning
in 1990, now preserved as a monument. It is open as tourism attraction. The body/hull was slightly cut for stairs & door for easier public entrance & viewing. Right beside the monument there is a building where a short movie about the history of the submarine itself can be watched.
  • Bonbin Surabaya is one of the famous zoos in Southeast Asia
  • Heroic Monument is the main symbol and one of the attractive tourist destinations in Surabaya and Southeast Asia
  • House of Sampoerna is a cigarette museum, and also one of the factory of Sampoerna brand cigarette. It also provides a City Sightseeing bus for free (Surabaya Heritage Track) which operates daily with the particular schedule. It also provides an English tour guide for the sightseeing.

Surabaya has 31 subdistricts. They are: Genteng, Bubutan, Tegalsari, Simokerto, Tambaksari, Gubeng, Krembangan, Semampir, Pabean Cantikan, Wonokromo, Sawahan, Tandes, Karang Pilang, Wonocolo, Rungkut, Sukolilo, Kenjeran, Benowo, Lakarsantri, Mulyorejo, Tenggilis Mejoyo, Gunung Anyar, Jambangan, Gayungan, Wiyung, Dukuh Pakis, Asem Rowo, Sukomanunggal, Bulak, Pakal and Sambikerep.

Surabaya has two huge townships developed by 2 famous developers. In West Surabaya, it has Citraland by Ciputra Group. Citraland is for its G-Walk, a spot for dining out, Ciputra Water Park, and University of Ciputra. In East Surabaya it has Pakuwon City by Pakuwon Group. Pakuwon City has its own dining out spot, called Food Festival, and it is developing more facilities, such as Pakuwon Town Square. Surabaya consists of 163 villages.


The city is served by Juanda International Airport. For trains, the city has several stations. They are Surabaya Kota (better known as Semut) , Pasar Turi, and Gubeng. The main bus terminal is Purabaya (also known as Bungurasih, the area where it is located).

Transportation in Surabaya is supported by the infrastructure of land transport, sea and air that could serve the local trip, regional, and international. The transport of the city is supported by public transport of the city transport, taxis, and the city bus. Surabaya is also a transit city between Jakarta and Bali for ground transportation. Many tourists go through the city of Surabaya for sightseeing before they go back to Jakarta or continue their journey to Bali. Another bus routes are between Jakarta and the neighboring island ofMadura.

Tanjung Perak is the main port of the city and is one of the busiest ports in the country. Nowadays, it is also one of the top ten busiest cargo ports in Southeast Asia. Although the port is nearly traditionally administered, it is also used to carry modern cargo ships worldwide. The other port of the city is located in Gresik, a city which is located less than an hour drive from Surabaya city centre to Gresik via highway. In the future, Gresik will be the location for the new harbor and Tanjung Perak will be demolished and will be redeveloped as a recreation area for Surabaya.

Juanda International Airport is the second busiest airport in Indonesia in terms of transit passengers. Many passengers transit through the airport. It is famous as a transit airport between West and East Indonesia and it is also a hub airport of many airlines. In the future, the international airport activities will be removed to the new airport somewhere atLamongan. However, domestic airport activities will remain at the old airport.


The city is one of the busiest ports in the country. Its principal exports include sugar, tobacco and coffee. It has a large shipyard, and numerous specialized naval schools.

As the provincial capital, Surabaya is also home to many offices and business centres. Surabaya’s economy is also influenced by the recent growth in foreign industries and the completion of the Suramadu bridge. Surabaya is currently in the process of building high rise skyscrapers such as apartments, condominiums, and hotels as a way of attracting foreign people to the city.

Surabaya is the main trading port in East Java. Enriched by its facilities, and geography advantages, Surabaya has great economic potential.


Surabaya is the second most populous city in Indonesia, after Jakarta, with 2,765,908 recorded in the chartered city limits (kota) in 2010 census. Like many other large Indonesian metropolises, many residents reside outside the city limits in a metropolitan area calledGerbangkertosusila. The city is highly urbanized, due to the many industries located in the city, resulting in many slum areas. As the main education center, Surabaya has been the home for many students from around Indonesia, thus they have created their own community. Also, Surabaya is the commercial center for the eastern Indonesian region, hence many outsiders live in Surabaya.


Surabaya is a multi-ethnic city: foreign nationalities represented include Malaysian, Chinese, Indian, Arabic, and European. In addition toJavanese and Madurese natives, the city also has representatives of other Indonesian area: Sunda, Minangkabau, Batak, Banjar, Balinese, and Bugis.

The majority of Surabaya citizens work in retail, whether in the expensive stores in the center city or the many small shops and stalls throughout the metropolis.

Surabaya is an old city that has expanded over time, and its population still grows 1.2% per year. In recent years, people have been moving from the crowded city center to suburban subdivisions featuring golf courses and strict security.


Most citizens speak a dialect of Javanese called Suroboyoan. A stereotype of this dialect concerns its equality and directness in speech. The usage of register is less strict than the Central Javan dialect. The Surabaya dialect is actively promoted in local media, such as in local TV shows, radio and traditional dramas called Ludruk. The Madurese language influences the Surabayan dialect of Javanese spoken in the streets.


In Indonesia, the keeping of standard time is divided into three time zones, Surabaya follow the Western Indonesian Time/WIT (Indonesian:Waktu Indonesia Barat/WIB) (UTC+7).


Islam is the most dominant religion in the city. Other religions include Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism

  • Islam

Islam is the main religion in Surabaya.

  • Orthodox Christianity

The city is also home to the Orthodox Christian Center Surabaya which was opend on the 15th of October 2008 by Father Yohanes Bambang Cahyo Wicaksono an Orthodox Priest. The city is also home to a Orthodox Christian Elementary school and kindergarten with plans to establish a High School and University in the medium term. The head Orthodox Church in Indonesia, St Nikolas is also based in Surabaya.

  • Roman Catholicism

The city is the home of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Surabaya.


Dolly is a brothel district in Surabaya known throughout in Indonesia, with an estimated 2,000 prostitutes working there. It is the largest lokalisasi (prostitution tolerance zone) in Indonesia, and the largest red-light district in Southeast Asia, and Islamic groups have campaigned to close it. Although it has been forced to move several times in history, it is thought to have been originally founded by a Dutch madam, Dolly van der Mart.


Surabaya has several major universities and other institutions with religious or technical specialties. One of them is Airlangga University (Unair), the oldest, largest, and also best public university in eastern Java, with eleven departments in a variety of fields, including an especially well-regarded medical school, faculty of pharmacy and psychology department. The Tenth of November Institute of Technology is one of the country’s most selective technology institutions, and is well-known for its robotics, mechanical engineering, and marine engineering programs.

As one of the Indonesian military’s major naval ports, Surabaya is the site of the national Naval Military Academy.

source : wikipedia


One thought on “Surabaya

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