Location: Lodoyong, Ambarawa, Semarang, Central Java 50611
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Open and close: Saturday-Thursday 08.30 – 16.30
Indonesia has a lot of historical places that maybe not many people know. If you look at the buildings around, for example, buildings from the Dutch or Japanese era, it might feel normal.
There is no interest in knowing the painful story hidden behind the sturdy building or the origins of why it was founded.
One of the historical buildings that people talk about because the place is like in a movie Fort Willem 1 or more often heard by the name Pendem Ambarawa Fort in Semarang City.
If you visit Ambarawa, maybe it doesn’t hurt to stop by for a moment to enjoy the atmosphere at Pendem Fort.
Especially for you fans of the world of photography, don’t miss the opportunity to immortalize yourself using the background of this exotic Ambarawa Fort.
For information, this Ambarawa Fortress is commonly used as a photo prewedding or a filming place, for example the Soekarno film directed by Hanung Bramantyo.
The charm of the fort
Maybe for those of you who live outside Java, Benteng Pendem Ambarawa sounds strange. Unlike other tourist objects in Central Java, such as the Borobudur Temple or other tourist objects.
This is because indeed Pendem Ambarawa Fort is not really a tourist attraction as you usually visit.
Pendem Ambarawa Fort or Fort Willem I is an old building that has high historical value.
In Javanese the word ‘Pendem’ means hidden because this building is located underground.
As for the name Fort Willem I itself is used as a symbol of respect for King Willem I, one of the kings who once ruled the Dutch kingdom.
There are those who say that the fort Fort Willem This I has roman numerals behind it to show a sequence, because there is another fort named Fort Willem II in Unggaran.
This Pendem Ambarawa fort looks very well maintained from the outside with white paint and a statue of Prince Diponegoro is added as a sign that he once lived in this fort.
Pendem Ambarawa Fort was built during the Dutch colonial era, during the reign of Colonel Hoorn.
Precisely this fort was founded in 1834, then completed in 1845. So, the age of this building is more than a century.
Old and unkempt buildings make rubble and moss and weeds grow in some parts.
However, it actually adds to the exotic impression of this building. Especially when viewed from a camera lens, this fortress has high artistic value even though this building is quite old.
The strong architecture of the Pendem Ambarawa Fortress and Dutch style, accompanied by many arches and large windows like in western films, really attracts the attention of the public.
Coupled with the history of the struggle of the Indonesian nation that is in it, so many students and the general public want to visit here.
However, the Pendem Ambarawa Fortress does not yet have adequate facilities. But there is no need to be disappointed because there are many street vendors found here and there is also an ancient prayer room for those of you who want to perform worship.
The prayer room is located at the corner of the fort. But unfortunately, the mosque was mossy, moist, and lots of grass was growing around it.
In front of the mosque is the inscription “masdjid” with the numbers 1834-1843 which indicates the year this building was built.
History and Functions
When Colonel Hoorn came to power from 1827 to 1830, a slightly more modern fort was built, located at Ambarawa.
The historical building was built in 1834 and was named Benteng Fort Williem I.
The building consists of five offices and a central barracks surrounded by four fortresses with two floors. Then the construction of the fort stopped and ended in 1845.
Pendem Ambarawa Fort is located on the edge of Rawa Pening which is surrounded by mountains. The city of Rawa Pening is a sub-district that belongs to the Administrative City of Semarang Regency.
So administratively, fortress Fort Williem I is located precisely in Lodoyong, Ambarawa, Semarang, Central Java.
Ambarawa is a city located between Semarang City and Surakarta City. In 1940, when Central Java was controlled by the VOC, this area was a very strategic area.
Therefore, the VOC built fortresses along the Semarang Ungaran route through Salatiga to Surakarta.
Of all these forts, Pendem is the most important because it becomes a gathering point for troops when attacked by an enemy. In addition, the construction of the fort building aims to improve relations with the Mataram kingdom.
At first, the construction of Willem I fort was intended for military barracks and for storage of logistical items.
However, some experts argue that this fort was built as a KNIL military barracks which was connected between Magelang, Yogyakarta to Semarang by train.
Unlike the case with other fortresses, Fort Willem This I has a different shape and model. When you look at the building, you will find lots of windows.
The building looks very similar to the Lawang Sewu building in the city of Semarang.
From the building model, it is estimated that this fort did not function as a place of defense.
This opinion is strengthened by the absence of a hole for the top of the fort which is usually used to install cannons.
This fortress was also used as a prison for children and then used as a prison for political prisoners and adults in 1927.
This fort building has an underground prison, therefore people often call it Benteng Pendem Ambarawa.
In addition, this building was used as a residence for the NICA military during the Japanese rule.
When the fort fell into the hands of the People’s Security Army on October 14 to November 23, 1945, the fort changed its function as the headquarters of the Indonesian fighters.
This fort building is a building that witnesses Indonesia’s struggle during VOC colonialism to the NIC.
Precisely at the height of the Palagan Ambarawa war on October 12, 1945. The war arose because the Dutch wanted to regain control of Indonesian territory.
Besides that, the Pendem Fort building itself had a very winding journey. Among them is the collapse of the fort construction in 1865 which was caused by an earthquake. So that it caused part of the building to collapse.
Now part of the fort is used as a residential area for residents and military soldiers. Meanwhile, part of the fort was left empty.
Therefore, many local residents consider this area haunted and have a mystical aura. In addition, this fort is now used as a class II A Penitentiary and military barracks.
If you want to visit, you have to get permission from the prison officer and it is forbidden to make noise or make noise because this can disturb the residents who live in the fort area.
Route to Location
The location of Pendem Fort is close to the Ambarawa Railway Museum which is behind the Regional General Hospital (RSUD) and is in the Ambarawa Class II Correctional Institution Complex (Lapas).
If you want to visit this fort, there are two routes that can be passed. The first route is through the entrance to the Ambarawa prison while the second is through the back road of Ambarawa Hospital.
Price of admission
When visiting this fort, you don’t have to worry about the cost of the entrance ticket, because there will be no charge for it.
In other words, the price of admission to Fort Pendem Ambarawa is free. However, if you are driving a vehicle, you only need to pay for parking, which is approximately 5000 rupiah.