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From top left, clockwise: Sura and Baya statue in Surabaya Zoo, Suramadu Bridge, Heroes Monument, Tunjungan Plaza.
From top left, clockwise: Sura and Baya statue in Surabaya Zoo, Suramadu Bridge, Heroes Monument, Tunjungan Plaza.
Official seal of Surabaya
Nickname(s): City of Heroes
Motto: Sparkling Surabaya
Location of Surabaya in East Java
Location of Surabaya in East Java
Surabaya is located in Indonesia
Location in Indonesia
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Country Indonesia
Province East Java
Settled 31 May 1293
 • Mayor Tri Rismaharini (PDI-P)
 • Vice Mayor Wisnu Sakti Buana
 • City 350.5 km2 (135.3 sq mi)
 • Metro 2,787 km2 (1,076 sq mi)
Elevation 5 m (16 ft)
Population (2010 census[1])
 • City 2,765,487
 • Density 7,900/km2 (20,000/sq mi)
 • Metro 7,302,283
 • Metro density 2,600/km2 (6,800/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Suroboyoan
Time zone WIB (UTC+7)
Area code(s) +62 31
Vehicle registration L

Surabaya (Indonesian pronunciation: [surəˈbaja]) (formerly Dutch: Soerabaja/Soerabaia Javanese: Suroboyo) is the capital of Jawa Timur (East Java), located on northeastern Java island and along the edge of the Madura Strait and the second-largest-city in Indonesia. At the 2010 census, the city had a population over 2.8 million and its built-up (or metro) area, 7,302,283 inhabitants made of 2 cities and 50 districts spreads on Gresik, Sidoarjo, Mojokerto and Pasuruan regencies.[1]

The city is known as Kota Pahlawan "city of heroes" due to the importance of the Battle of Surabaya in galvanizing Indonesian and international support for Indonesian independence during the Indonesian National Revolution. Surabaya was once the largest city in Dutch East Indies and virtually the center of trading in the nation, exceeding those of Batavia, competing with the likes of Singapore and Hong Kong.[2]


Fighting shark and crocodile, the emblem of Surabaya city applied since colonial times, derived from local folk etymology

Surabaya (Suroboyo) is locally believed to derive its name from the words "suro" (shark) and "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. It was said that the two powerful animals agreed for a truce and set boundaries; that the shark's domain would be in the sea while the crocodile's domain would be on the land. However one day the shark swam into the river estuary to hunt, this angered the crocodile that went territorial. Shark argued that the river was a water-realm which means it was shark territory, while the crocodile argued that the river flowed deep inland, so it belonged to the crocodile. The fight resumed ferociously as the two animals bit each other. Finally the shark was badly bitten and fled to the open sea, so the crocodile finally ruled the estuarine area that today is the city.[3]

Another source suggests to a Jayabaya prophecy — a 12th-century psychic king of Kediri Kingdom — as he foresaw a fight between a giant white shark and a giant white crocodile took place in the area, which is sometimes interpreted as a conflict between Mongol forces and Raden Wijaya's Majapahit forces in 1293.[4] Now the two animals are used as the city's symbol, the two facing each other while circling, as depicted in a statue appropriately located near the entrance to the city zoo.

Alternate derivations proliferate: from the Javanese "sura ing baya", meaning "bravely facing danger";[4] or from the use of "surya" to refer to the sun. Some people consider this Jayabaya's prophecy as a great war between native Surabayan people against the foreign invaders back in 1945. Another story tells about two heroes that fought each other in order to be the king of the city. The two heroes were named Sura and Baya. These folk etymologies, though embraced enthusiastically by its people and city leaders, are unverifiable.


Dutch residenthuis (Resident House) along the water in Surabaya
Map of Surabaya from an 1897 English travel-guide
Red Bridge area from the air in the 1920s.

The earliest record of Surabaya was in a 1225 book Zhu fan zhi written by Zhao Rugua, in which it was called Jung-ya-lu,[5] the ancient name of Surabaya. Ma Huan documented the early fifteenth-century visit of Zheng He's treasure ships in his 1433 book Yingyai Shenglan: "after traveling south for more than twenty li, the ship reached Sulumayi, whose foreign name is Surabaya. At the estuary, the outflowing water is fresh".[6]

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.[7]:31 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.[7]:31

Handelstraat, Surabaya in the 1930s: subsequently the Jembatan Merah area.

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. Surabaya was also the largest city in the colony serving as the center of Java's plantation economy, industry and were supported by its natural harbor.[8] However, by 1920 a census recorded that Batavia has overtaken Surabaya's population size. In 1917, a revolt occurred among the soldiers and sailors of Surabaya, led by the Indies Social Democratic Association. The revolt was firmly crushed and the insurgents given harsh sentences.[citation needed]

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. The young nation soon came into conflict with the British, who were caretakers of the Dutch colony after the surrender of the Japanese.

The Battle of Surabaya, one of the well-known battles of the Indonesian revolution, started after the Arek-Arek Suroboyo (Teenagers of Surabaya) killed of the British Brigadier Mallaby on October 30, 1945 near Jembatan Merah (the "Red Bridge"), allegedly by a stray bullet. The Allies gave an ultimatum to the republicans inside the city to surrender, but they refused. The ensuing battle, which cost thousands of lives, took place on November 10, which Indonesians subsequently celebrate as Hari Pahlawan (Heroes' Day). The incident of the red-white flag (the Dutch 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.

City overview

The regencies surrounding Surabaya include:

Gresik, Bangkalan, Mojokerto, Surabaya, Sidoarjo and Lamongan comprise an extended metropolitan area which is called Gerbangkertosusila.

The Adhiwangsa, The Via & Vue, Taman Beverly, Trillium and Water Place Residences are five of the tallest skyscrapers in Surabaya, along with the BRI Tower, BII Tower and Graha Pena.

Surabaya is a major shopping destination for Indonesians, with several large malls.

Surabaya is home to the Eastern Fleet, one of two fleets in the Indonesian Navy. Its strong maritime heritage is also represented in a form of KRI Pasopati Submarine Monument, a retired Russian Whiskey class submarine.[9][10]

Cheng Hoo Mosque, Surabaya

In June 2011, Surabaya received the Adipura Kencana Award as number one among 20 cities in Indonesia. Surabaya today has some wide sidewalks and parks as a miniature of Singapore - being clean and green - said one reporter from Singapore.[11]

Tourist destination

Kebun Binatang Surabaya (Surabaya Zoo) or KBS, opened in 1916, was the first in the world to have successfully bred orangutans in captivity. Other interesting destination include:

  • Masjid Cheng Ho (Zheng He Mosque), a recently built mosque, the first in Indonesia with Chinese-style architecture.
  • Masjid Al-Akbar Surabaya (Al-Akbar Mosque), the largest mosque in East Java.[citation needed]
  • Tugu Pahlawan (Hero monument), a 41 meter high monument, is the main symbol of Surabaya and commemorates the heroes of the revolutionary struggle. There is a museum on location as well, showing remainders of the struggle for independence.
  • House of Sampoerna, a museum devoted to the history of clove cigarette (kretek) manufacturing in Indonesia, housed in Dutch colonial buildings dating to 1864.[12]
  • Jalesveva Jayamahe Monument, a large, admiral-like statue which commemorates the Indonesian Navy.
  • Monkasel, abbreviated from Monumen Kapal Selam (Submarine Monument) [1] A Soviet-built Whiskey class submarine (named KRI Pasopati (410)), first launched in 1952, served in the Indonesian Navy from 1962 until decommissioned in 1990.[13] After her decommissioning, Pasopati was dismantled and transferred to its present site in 1996. The submarine was reassembled on its current site and opened as museum and tourist attraction in 1998.
  • Pantai Kenjeran (Kenjeran Beach), located in the eastern of Surabaya.
  • Makam Sunan Ampel (Tomb of Sunan Ampel), a notable religion tourist destination in Java
  • Taman Bungkul (Bungkul Park), one of the best urban parks in Indonesia
  • Museum Nahdlatul Ulama is a resource center of culture and history of Nahdatul Ulama, an independent Islamic religious organization.
  • Museum Bank Indonesia is a bank museum occupying the former De Javasche Bank built in 1904.

Shopping area

Traffic in a Surabaya street in 1958 as seen from Dutch Trading Company building

Surabaya is a major shopping destination for Indonesians, and there are several large shopping malls in the city such as BG Junction, Ciputra World Surabaya, City Of Tomorrow, Galaxy Mall, Grand City, Jembatan Merah Plaza, Kapas Krampung Plaza, Lenmarc, Plaza Surabaya, Plaza Tunjungan, Royal Plaza Surabaya, Supermal Pakuwon Indah, and Surabaya Town Square.

Hi-Tech Mall, WTC, and Plasa Marina are the major shopping centers in Surabaya for gadgets, computers and mobile phones.

In West Surabaya, Citraland by the Ciputra Group and Graha Family consists of residences, an apartment complex, a golf course and a climbing gym.

In East Surabaya, Pakuwon City by the Pakuwon Group has its own dining out spot, called Food Festival, and it is developing more facilities, such as the East Coast Center.

Administrative division

Surabaya has 31 kecamatan (district) based on 2010 Census population:[14][15]


Surabaya features a tropical wet and dry climate, with distinct wet and dry seasons. The city's wet season runs from November through June, while the dry season covers the remaining five months. Unlike a number of cities and regions with a tropical wet and dry climate, average high and low temperatures are very consistent throughout the course of the year, with an average high temperature of around 31 degrees Celsius and average low temperatures of around 26 degrees Celsius.

Climate data for Surabaya
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 31.8
Average low °C (°F) 24.1
Average rainfall mm (inches) 327
Average rainy days 17 18 19 15 13 11 7 3 4 5 12 23 147
Source: .[16]


Ujung passenger Port

Transportation in Surabaya is supported by land and sea infrastructure serving local, regional, and international trips (Actually, air transport located in Juanda Airport, Sedati, Sidoarjo). In city transport is primarily by motor vehicles, motorcycles and taxis. Some public bus transport is available. Surabaya, is also a transit city between Jakarta and Bali for ground transportation. Another bus route is between Jakarta and the neighboring island of Madura.


Tanjung Perak is the main port of the city and is one of the busiest ports in the country. Although much of the port cargo is traditionally administered, the port is also used to carry modern cargo ships worldwide up to 2nd generation of maximum 1,000 teus ships. Currently, the port has being dredged for 14 meters depth to serve 10,000 teus ships of 5th generation ships and predicted will be finished in mid-2015, while 16 meters depth with width 200 meters can serve 15,000 teus ships or 7th generation ships will be finished in mid-2016. Today the biggest international ships is the 9th generation ships.[17] The other port in the region is located in Gresik, a city 22 km from the Surabaya city centre. As a part of Tanjung Perak Port, in May 2014 a new Teluk Lamong Green Sea Port began trial run operation with two Ship to Shore Crane (STS) units, five Automated Stacking Crane (ASC) units, and one Automotive Terminal Tractor (ATT) unit. The new facilities will primarily serve international shipping, predicted to be 7 ships per week, and any unused capacity can be used to support domestic shipping. The new facilities will use less paper and will use gas trucks to carry containers in the port area.[18][19] In January 2015, dry bulk port will be built with 250 meters piers and predicted will be finished in one year to accommodate up to 14 LWS international ships. The port will be provided with 2 units of "Ship Unloader" complete with conveyor and 8 hectares warehouse. The dry bulk terminal will occupies 26 hectares and supporting by 36 hectares supporting area with capacity of 20,000,000 tonnes.[20]


The city has several train stations, They are Surabaya Kota (better known as Semut), Pasar Turi, and Gubeng. Surabaya's main train station is Pasar Turi Station. The Argo Bromo Anggrek operated by PT Kereta Api (Indonesia's main rail operator) connects Surabaya from this station to Gambir Station (Jakarta).


The main bus terminal is Terminal Purabaya (though located in Bungurasih, Waru, Sidoarjo), the other terminal is Osowilangon in Tambak, Surabaya.


There are various kind of local transportations such as: taxi, bemo (shuttle bus), bis kota (city bus), becak (pedicab) and commuter trains.

Suramadu Bridge

Suramadu Bridge, The longest bridge in Indonesia

The Suramadu Bridge (derived from Surabaya-Madura) connects Surabaya and Madura Island over the Madura Strait. A 16-kilometer highway will be built from the Suramadu Bridge to Madura International Seaport-City (MIS-C) in Pernajuh village, Kocah district, Bangkalan, Madura at a cost of approximately Rp. 60 billion (USD 7 billion). This container port was built to ease the burden on Surabaya's overloaded Tanjung Perak Port.[21]


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.


A street in Surabaya.

Surabaya is the second most populous city in Indonesia with 2,765,908 recorded in the chartered city limits (kota) in 2010 census.[22] Like other Indonesian metropolitan area, Surabaya has a greater area called 'Gerbangkertosusila' (derived from Gresik-Bangkalan-Mojokerto-Surabaya-Sidoarjo-Lamongan) The city is highly urbanized, due to the many industries centralized in the city, resulting in many slum areas. As the main education center, Surabaya has been the home for many students from around Indonesia.


Jembatan Merah, near Kya-Kya Kembang Jepun.
Kya-Kya Kembang Jepun, Chinatown in Surabaya.

Javanese is the majority of Surabaya; then, Chinese Indonesians and Madurese are significant minorities of the city. Surabaya also has representatives from other Indonesian areas: Sundanese, Minang, 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 at approximately 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, sub-dialect of Arekan dialect. 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. Besides, Chinese Indonesians of Surabaya also speak Chinese languages like Hokkien and Hakka.


Most citizens in Surabaya adhere to Islam.[23] Other religions include Christianity (Roman Catholicism and Protestanism), Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Judaism.

  • Islam

The city has an influential role as one of main of Islamic spreading area in Java at Walisongo era, besides Gresik, Lamongan, Tuban, Demak and Cirebon. The honored Islamic figure in Surabaya is Sunan Ampel (Raden Rahmat). His tomb has been a sacred religion place in the city and visited by many Indonesian Muslims every day. One of great Muslim organization in Indonesia, NU (Nahdlatul Ulama) was established in Surabaya at 26 January 1926.

Masjid Al-Akbar Surabaya is the famous and largest mosque in this city.

  • Roman Catholicism

The city is the home of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Surabaya. There are approximately 15 churches in Surabaya, both large and small. One of the first churches in Surabaya, is Kepanjen Church (Gereja Katolik Kelahiran Santa Perawan Maria), built in 1815 is also the oldest church in Surabaya and one of the oldest churches in Indonesia. The cathedral in Surabaya, is Hati Kudus Yesus, located in Polisi Istimewa 17 road.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Surabaya is one of the largest diocese with more than 150,000 members in the diocese itself, and one of the most fastest growing in Indonesia.

  • Protestanism

Bethany Indonesian Church: In 2000, Graha Bethany Nginden conducted a soft opening at the same time doubling the Church Seminar International (SPGI). This place can accommodate 35,000 members of the congregation.

Bethany Indonesian Church Synod, or Bethany is an incorporated church Synod of Indonesia and based in Surabaya. Bethany is one church with charismatic theology with a Pentecostal denomination. This church is a member of the Evangelical Fellowship of Indonesia (PII). The Bethany Indonesian Church has now become one of the largest church in Indonesia, with over than 120,000 branch churches in Indonesia, and more than 800,000 members. It has more branches in Australia, America, Europe and many countries as like Macau, China.[citation needed] Bethany Indonesian Church, acknowledged, accepted, and set the Apostles' Creed as the Confession of Faith Church Bethany Indonesia.

Mawar Sharon Church: Surabaya is also the base of one of Asia's largest Megachurches. Gereja Mawar Sharon is a non-denominational charismatic church with over 30 churches in Indonesia and over 40,000 churchgoers every week. Gereja Mawar Sharon or Mawar Sharon Church has been holding major events in Surabaya such as Surabaya For Jesus, Asia For Jesus, Festival Kuasa Allah (Festival of God's Power) and many more. It has the largest Christian youth group of over 8000 weekly attendance. In Surabaya itself, Mawar Sharon Church have over 17,000 church members.[citation needed]

  • Orthodox Christianity

The city is also home to the Orthodox Christian Center Surabaya which was opened on 15 October 2008 by Father Yohanes Bambang Cahyo Wicaksono an Orthodox Priest.[24] The city is also home to two Orthodox Christian Community centres and there are plans to establish a kindergarten, High School and University in the medium term. The head Orthodox Church in Indonesia, St Nikolas is also based in Surabaya.[25] On 12 January a new Orthodox Orthodox Community center was opened in the Dinoyo district, beside St. Nikolaos Orthodox Church.[26]

  • Judaism

Surabaya was the location of the only synagogue in Java, but it rarely obtained a minyan. This synagogue however has been demolished in protests and riots related to Palestine-Israeli conflict.[citation needed] There is also a Jewish cemetery in the city.[27][28]


The city has one football club currently competing in the Indonesian Super League, called Persebaya. Persebaya is considered as one of the most successful clubs in Indonesia, having won the Indonesian Premier Division twice. Its fans refer to themselves as Bonek, an abbreviation for Bondo Nekat (somehow can be translated as "equipped by bravery"). The Bonek have been well known for their strong loyalty to the club, and is also perceived as the representation of the braveness of the citizens of Surabaya.

Surabaya has a multi-purpose stadium named Gelora Bung Tomo Stadium. This stadium used mostly for football matches and became the new home stadium of Persebaya, replacing Gelora 10 November Stadium.[29] On 23 July 2012, it was used as the venue of a friendly match between Persebaya 1927 against Queens Park Rangers.


Universities and post-secondary institutions

Surabaya has several major universities and institutions with religious or technical specialties. Some of them are

Primary and secondary schools

International schools include:





  • Wedang Angsle
  • Wedang Ronde
  • Wedang Tahwa
  • STMJ (Susu Telur Madu Jahe)

Twin towns – Sister cities

Surabaya is twinned with:[32]

Turkey izmir, Turkey (since 1996)


Tunjungan Street early 70's

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1
  2. "Surabaya City Of Work: A Socioeconomic History, 1900-2000 (Ohio RIS Southeast Asia Series): Howard Dick: 9780896802216: Books".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Irwan Rouf & Shenia Ananda. Rangkuman 100 Cerita Rakyat Indonesia dari Sabang sampai Merauke: Asal Usul Nama Kota Surabaya (in Indonesian). MediaKita. p. 60. ISBN 9786029003826. Retrieved 17 November 2014.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Welcome to Surabaya City, East Java". Surabaya Tourism, Retrieved 17 November 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. F. Hirth and W.W. Rockhill, Chau Ju-kua, St Petersburg, 1911
  6. Ma Huan Ying-yai Sheng-lan, The Overall Survey of Ocean Shore, translated by J.V.G. Mills, p. 90, 1970, Hakklut Society, reprint by White Lotus, 1997. ISBN 974-8496-78-3.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Drakeley S. The History of Indonesia. Greenwood, 2005. ISBN 9780313331145
  8. "The City in Southeast Asia".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. The Submarine Monument. "Welcome to Submarine Monument Surabaya, Indonesia : A real Russian submarine in the Indonesia's Navy Armada".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Monkasel (Submarine Monument)".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Surabaya, a miniature of Singapore". September 5, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "House of Sampoerna website".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "KRI Pasopati 410: Kenangan Whiskey Class".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. Surabaya City Regulation No. 5 2006
  15. Biro Pusat Statistik, Jakarta, 2011.
  16. "World Weather Information Service - Surabaya".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. "Pertengahan 2015, Kapal Generasi Lima Sandar di Tanjung Perak". November 16, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. Miftahul Ulum. "Teluk Lamong Can Serve 7 International Ships". Retrieved May 8, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  25. Orthodox Indonesia Church Parokia St. Nikolaos
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  27. "The Synagogue of Surabaya, Indonesia - Beit Hatfutsot". Beit Hatfutsot.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  28. The Jews of Surabaya, by Jessica Champagne and Teuku Cut Mahmud Aziz.
  29. (Indonesian) Detik Surabaya: Gelora Bung Tomo Diresmikan, Lalu Lintas Macet
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  31. "The Surabaya Taipei International School - An Example of Outstanding Taiwanese Education" (Archive). Taiwanese Ministry of Education. Retrieved on January 10, 2016. See Chinese article (Archive)
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External links