The History of Lawang Sewu (Heritage tourism site)
The historic building Lawang Sewu, Semarang, Central Java already familiar to the public, especially residents of Semarang and surrounding areas, but not many people know, if the symbol of thousand doors (Lawang Sewu) of the Dutch colonial government heritage saves a lot of hidden stories.
As the building of the center of the Dutch government at that time, Lawang Sewu is an important icon of the city of Semarang, central Java. Historically, this magnificent building is the former headquarters of Nederlands-Indische Maatschappij Spoorweg or NIS, the Dutch railways operating in Semarang. Prof. Jacob F Klinkhamer (TH Delft) and BJ Ouendag is the architect who lives in Amsterdam in 1903.
The building has a unique architectural form; the construction even takes quite a long time, established on February 27, 1904 until July 1, 1907. The name Lawang Sewu because the building was made with the 1000 doors of the building, divided into four buildings, A through D.
As highlighted by Boyd (2002) and Bonn et al. (2007), in the last decade there was increasing interest in the rediscovery of the past, which generated new forms of heritage tourism. Hence, the definition of heritage tourism evolved from an initial vision limited to past history (Poria et al 2003), to include different kind of resources: cultural, historical and natural assets (Russo and Jansen-Verbeke, 2008), intangible elements, iconic places, attractions and events. In this way, innovative forms of heritage tourism are manifested (Di Pietro et al, forthcoming; Galì-Espelt, 2012; Donaire and Galì, 2008).
Mystical stories of Lawang Sewu (Dark Tourism site)
The term ‘dark tourism’ was first coined by Foley and Lennon (1996a,b), subsequently becoming the title of a book that, arguably, re-mains the most widely cited study of the phenomenon (Lennon and Foley 2000).
Based on people story around Lawang Sewu, thousands of ghosts stay in the building, they stay at certain points, ranging from the old well, the main entrance, the hallways, the location of the standing prison, squatting prison, and the main hall and in the torture chamber.
It’s no secret if Ghost like kuntilanak (ghost of screaming woman), genderuwo (Giant ghost), Dutch soldiers ghost, Japanese soldiers ghost can easily seen surrounding the buildings.
Every dark tourist attraction is thematically predetermined by an event from history (i.e. various legends or imaginary content) and on its own, attracts visitors with various profiles. Kušen (2002) believes that tourist attractions are a magnet that runs the touristic system and determines the development of tourism in a destination.
However, these two combinations, heritage and dark tourism have significant contribution in generating more tourists.
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