Sam Poo Kong, Semarang, Central Java, Indonesia

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Sam Poo Kong Temple, also known as Gedung Batu (the Stone Building), is the oldest Chinese temple in Semarang, capital of the province of Central Java….

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What makes Sam Poo Kong stand out from other temples is the fact that the building does not belong to any specific religion, but  instead functions as a place of worship for people of various ethnicities and religious groups including Buddhists, Taoists and Muslims….

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You see, the temple foundations were first built by Admiral Cheng Ho, also known as Admiral Zheng He, a muslim explorer from Mainland China…

When Cheng Ho left the island, some of his crew members remained, adapted to local customs, and married local women (Note for my Malaysian friends and readers : yeah, just like when he stopped in Melaka – some of his crew stayed behind and married local Melaka women to form the Baba Nyonya community)…

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Their descendants maintain both Chinese and local culture alive. The mixture of cultures nowadays still here and exist through centuries.

Although Cheng Ho himself is a Muslim. Sam Poo Kong is a temple of Tridharma (Taoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism).

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In 1704, the original temple and cave was destroyed in a landslide. The local community rebuilt it 20 years later in a different location, closer to the city center and further from areas prone to decay by natural elements. It functions both as a place of worship, and a shrine honoring Cheng Ho for his services to the community.

The temple takes a Javanese Joglo form. A non-walled square room design usually supports by four or more pillars. The Chinese influence is so obvious. With the dragons and hong birds ornament.

Sam Poo Kong itself faces northwest toward the direction of Mecca, like an Islamic mosque..

The complex spans across 3.2 hectares… And consist of five temples…. The main temple and also the oldest one is Sam Poo Kong. The other four are Kyai Juru Mudi Temple, Kyai Jangkar Temple…

And the other Kyai Cundrik Bumi, and Mbah Kyai Tumpeng Temple. With the exception of Sam Poo Kong itself, the other 4 temples have Javanese names…

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The buildings are influenced by both Chinese and Javanese 14th century architectural styles. The temple is painted with a brilliant red color and crowned with a triple-layered pagoda-style roof, typical of East Asian culture…

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As you can see from my pictures here, you can actually get dressed in beautiful Chinese traditional clothes  From as low as only IDR 90,000….

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The tradition Chinese costumes come in colorful colors with floral or dragon patterns. Feel like Chinese royalty and don’t forget to take plenty of photos with the costume… It also comes with two photos by a professional photographer…

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The Sam Poo Kong is definitely a beautiful temple you should visit for both its historical values as well as its picturesque sights…

Address – Jl. Simongan No.129, Bongsari, Kec. Semarang Bar., Kota Semarang, Jawa Tengah 50148

The Sam Poo Kong Complex is located In Semarang City Centre and just about only 8 km from the Ahmad Yani International Airport. It is opened from 8am to 8pm and fees apply for entrance to the square, worship area and costume rentals…

This trip to Dieng and Semarang was made possible via an invite from the Central Java Tourism and also the Kedutaan Besar Republic of Indonesia

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