Semarang/Tanjung Mas Harbour

Travel Guide Asia Indonesia Java Central Java Semarang Semarang/Tanjung Mas Harbour

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Introduction

Willem III lighthouse

Willem III lighthouse

© theo1006

In recent years Semarang’s Tanjung Emas Harbour has been rapidly developed. In the 1970ies there still was no real harbour. Ships had to anchor off-shore in the shallow Java Sea and unload onto flat-bottomed barges. Since then piers have been raised and extended into the sea and the seabed dredged so that freighters and cruise ships can moor at a jetty.

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Sights and Activities

  • Willem III lighthouse - The landmark to see in Semarang’s Tanjung Emas Harbour is the eight-sided cast-iron lighthouse, according to a plaque ‘built by Royal Dutch Ironworks at Leiden 1883’. It was transported in parts and ‘during the reign of William III King of the Netherlands etc. etc. etc. erected for a revolving light of the fourth size in 1884’. At that time the lighthouse stood right on the water’s edge. The pier of the present harbour stretches half a kilometre beyond the lighthouse. Also the lighthouse now actually stands in a 1.5 metre deep well. To reach the door one has to descend a flight of stairs. The pier and adjacent area have been constructed on a higher level to avoid flooding, but the lighthouse could not be moved. Regrettably visitors are not allowed in. If one would appreciate the construction from the inside, one has to go all the way to Bangkalan on Madura island (near Surabaya). The Bangkalan cast-iron lighthouse was ‘erected for a fixed light of the second size in 1879’ and is freely accessible.
Traditional freighter

Traditional freighter

© theo1006

  • Wooden ships - The William III lighthouse is located two kilometres due north from the former Harbour Master’s Tower in the Old Town. Along Jalan Yos Sudarso leading towards it, usually several traditional wooden ships are moored. These still serve inter-island trade like they have done for centuries.
  • Peace of Mind Monument - In an as yet undeveloped part of the coastal plain, 3 kilometres west of Jalan Yos Sudarso, a monument has been erected in 1998. The granite block is full of Japanese characters, the only western lettering says Ketenangan Jiwa, Peace of Mind. The monument commemorates an lesser known episode of the Five Day Battle of Semarang. That was a battle, after Japan had capitulated, between Indonesian militias and Japanese elite soldiers who refused to surrender. But 150 Japanese civilians were imprisoned and killed in Semarang’s Bulu prison together with the defeated soldiers. Except for the dates of the battle, 14-18 October, the monument does not attract many visitors. It takes a motorcycle ride on an unsurfaced and often muddy path to reach it, on the right bank of the Banjir Kanal Barat.

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Getting There and Around

The harbour is large, it is advisable to avail oneself of motorized transport.

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This is version 2. Last edited at 9:36 on Dec 27, 17 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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