Surabaya (Javanese: ꦱꦸꦫꦧꦪ or ꦯꦹꦫꦨꦪ; Javanese pronunciation: [surɔbɔjɔ]; Indonesian pronunciation: [suraˈbaja] (listen)) is the capital city of the Indonesian province of East Java and the second-largest city in Indonesia, after Jakarta. Located on the northeastern border of Java island, on the Madura Strait, it is one of the earliest port cities in Southeast Asia. According to the National Development Planning Agency, Surabaya is one of the four main central cities of Indonesia, alongside Jakarta, Medan, and Makassar.[9][10] The city has a population of 2.87 million within its city limits at the 2020 census and 9.5 million in the extended Surabaya metropolitan area, making it the second-largest metropolitan area in Indonesia.[11]

Surabaya City
Kota Surabaya
Other transcription(s)
 • Javaneseꦯꦹꦫꦨꦪ
 • MadureseSorbhâjâ
 • Chinese泗水 (Hanzi)
Sìshuǐ (Pinyin)
 • PetjoSoerabaja
From top, left to right:
Central Surabaya skyline, Tugu Pahlawan (Heroes Monument), Downtown Central Surabaya, Suramadu Bridge at night, Jalesveva Jayamahe Monument, Museum 10 November, West Surabaya CBD
Flag of Surabaya
Coat of arms of Surabaya
ꦏꦺꦴꦠꦥꦃꦭꦮꦤ꧀  (Javanese)
Kota Pahlawan
"City of Heroes"
ꦏꦺꦴꦠꦧꦪ  (Javanese)
Kota Baya
"Brave City"
ꦲꦸꦗꦸꦁꦒꦭꦸꦃ  (Javanese)
Ujung Galuh
ꦱꦸꦫꦧꦪꦒꦼꦩꦶꦭꦁ  (Javanese)
Surabaya Gemilang
"Sparkling Surabaya"
Location within East Java
Location within East Java
Interactive map outlining Surabaya
Surabaya is located in Java
Location in Java and Indonesia
Surabaya is located in Indonesia
Surabaya (Indonesia)
Coordinates: 07°14′45″S 112°44′16″E / 7.24583°S 112.73778°E / -7.24583; 112.73778Coordinates: 07°14′45″S 112°44′16″E / 7.24583°S 112.73778°E / -7.24583; 112.73778
ProvinceEast Java
Founded31 May 1293[2]
Incorporated1 April 1906 (as Gemeente)[3]
 • MayorEri Cahyadi
 • Vice MayorArmuji [id]
 • Capital city of East Java326.81 km2 (126.18 sq mi)
 • Urban
911 km2 (352 sq mi)
 • Metro
5,925 km2 (2,288 sq mi)
5 m (16 ft)
 • Capital city of East Java2,874,314 (2nd)
 • Urban6,499,000 (3rd)
 • Urban density7,134/km2 (18,480/sq mi)
 • Metro9,570,870 (2nd)
 • Metro density1,615/km2 (4,180/sq mi)
 • Ethnic groupsJavanese, Madurese, Sundanese, Minangkabau, Batak, Banjar, Balinese, Bugis, Malay, Chinese, Indian, Arabs
 • Religion[6]Islam 73.13%
Protestantism 13.18%
Catholicism 10.98%
Buddhism 2.49%
Hinduism 0.26%
Confucianism 0.01%
Time zoneUTC+07:00
Postal Code
60xxx, 61xxx
Area code(+62) 31
Vehicle registrationL (for Motor vehicle), SKB (for Rickshaw)
Nominal GDP[7]2019
 - TotalRp 580.7 trillion (2nd)
$ 41.1 billion
$ 135.0 billion (PPP)
 - Per capitaRp 200,505 thousand (5th)
$ 14,180
$ 46,610 (PPP)
 - GrowthIncrease 6.1%
HDI (2019)0.822[8] (10th) – Very High
AirportJuanda International Airport
Commuter railKereta Api Indonesia Commuter rail in Surabaya (Jenggala, Komuter Surabaya-Bangil, Komuter Surabaya-Pasuruan, Komuter Sulam, Komuter Sidoarjo-Indro)
Rapid transitSuroboyo bus (vector).svg Suroboyo Bus
Surabaya LRT and MRT (planned)

The city was settled in the 10th century by the Kingdom of Janggala, one of the two Javanese kingdoms that was formed in 1045 when Airlangga abdicated his throne in favor of his two sons. In the late 15th and 16th centuries, Surabaya grew to be a duchy, a major political and military power as well as a port in eastern Java, probably under the Majapahit empire.[12] At that time, Surabaya was already a major trading port, owing to its location on the River Brantas delta and the trade route between Malacca and the Spice Islands via the Java Sea. During the decline of Majapahit, the lord of Surabaya resisted the rise of the Demak Sultanate and only submitted to its rule in 1530.[13][14] Surabaya became independent after the death of Sultan Trenggana of Demak in 1546.[15][16]

From the 18th century until the mid-20th century, Surabaya was the largest city in the Dutch East Indies, and the center of trading in the Indonesian archipelago, which was then a competitor to Shanghai and Hong Kong.[12] The city is known as Kota Pahlawan (the city of heroes) due to the importance of the Battle of Surabaya during the Indonesian National Revolution. The city is one of the important financial, commercial, industrial, transportation, and entertainment hubs of the archipelago,[17] arguably second only to Jakarta, and the Port of Tanjung Perak is Indonesia's second-busiest seaport located on northern Surabaya. The city is also known for being one of the cleanest and greenest in Indonesia.


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

Surabaya, from the Javanese "sura ing baya", means "bravely facing danger";[18] originally from the union of Pali words "sura", referring to the "Asura" (Buddhism beliefs, and "bhaya", referring to "fear", "perils" or "danger". This name for Surabaya alludes to a prophecy of Jayabaya, a 12th-century psychic king of Kediri Kingdom, whose name means "conquering the fear or perils" derived from the Pali words "Jaya" or "Vijaya" (victory or conqueror) and "bhaya" (fear, perils or danger). Jayabaya foresaw a fight between a giant white shark and a giant white crocodile taking place in the area.[19] The event is sometimes interpreted as foretelling the Mongol invasion of Java, a major conflict between the forces of Kublai Khan, Mongol ruler of China, and those of Raden Wijaya's Majapahit on 31 May 1293,[20][18] which is now considered the date of the city's founding.[21] The two animals are now used as the city's symbol, with the two facing and circling each other, as depicted in a statue appropriately located near the entrance to the city zoo.[22]

Some people consider Jayabaya's prophecy as being about the great war between native Surabayan people and foreign invaders at the start of the war of independence in 1945. Another story tells of two heroes who fought each other 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.[23]

Dutch residenthuis (resident house) along the water in Surabaya
Red Bridge area from the air in the 1920s


Early historyEdit

Map of Surabaya from an 1897 English travel guide

The Kingdom of Janggala was one of the two Javanese kingdoms that were formed in 1045 when Airlangga abdicated his throne in favor of his two sons. The earliest historical record of Surabaya was in the 1225 book Zhu fan zhi written by Zhao Rugua, in which it was called Jung-ya-lu.[24] The name Janggala probably derived from the name "Hujung Galuh" (Old Javanese lit: "Cape Diamond" or "Cape Gemstone"), or "Jung-ya-lu" according to Chinese sources. Hujung Galuh was located on the estuary of Brantas River and today is the part of modern Surabaya city and Sidoarjo Regency.[25] By the 14th to 15th centuries, Surabaya seems to be one of the Majapahit ports or coastal settlements, together with Tuban, Gresik, and Hujung Galuh (Sidoarjo). Ma Huan documented the early 15th-century visit of Zheng He's treasure ships in his 1433 book Yingya Shenglan: "after travelling south for more than 20 li, the ship reached Sulumayi, whose foreign name is Surabaya. At the estuary, the outflowing water is fresh".[26]Tomé Pires mentioned that a Muslim lord was in power in Surabaya in 1513, though likely still a vassal of the Majapahit.

Ma Huan visited Java during Zheng He's fourth expedition in 1413, during the reign of Majapahit king Wikramawardhana. He describes his travel to the Majapahit capital. He first arrived at the port of Tu-pan (Tuban) where he saw large numbers of Chinese settlers migrated from Guangdong and Chou Chang. Then, he sailed east to the thriving new trading town of Ko-erh-hsi (Gresik), Su-pa-erh-ya (Surabaya), and then sailing inland into the river by smaller boat to the southwest until he reached the Brantas river port of Chang-ku (Changgu). Continuing to travel by land to the southwest, he arrived in Man-che-po-I (Majapahit), where the Javanese king stayed.[27]

Pre-colonial eraEdit

By the late 15th century, Islam began to take its root in Surabaya. The settlement of Ampel Denta, located around Ampel Mosque in today's Ampel subdistrict, Semampir district, north Surabaya, was established by a charismatic Islamic proselytiser Sunan Ampel.[28]

In the late 15th and 16th centuries, Surabaya grew to be a duchy, a major political and military power in eastern Java. The Portuguese writer Tomé Pires mentioned that a Muslim lord was in power in Surabaya in 1513, though likely still a vassal of the Hindu–Buddhist Majapahit.[13] At that time, Surabaya was already a major trading port,[29] owing to its location on the River Brantas delta and the trade route between Malacca and the Spice Islands via the Java Sea.[30] During the decline of Majapahit, the lord of Surabaya resisted the rise of the Demak Sultanate and only submitted to its rule in 1530.[13][14] Surabaya became independent after the death of Sultan Trenggana of Demak in 1546.[15][16]

The Duchy of Surabaya entered a conflict with and was later captured by the more powerful Sultanate of Mataram in 1625 under Sultan Agung.[31]: 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, except the Sultanate of Banten and the Dutch settlement of Batavia.[31]: 31 

Colonial eraEdit

The expanding Dutch East India Company took the city over from a weakened Mataram in November 1743. In consolidating its rule over Surabaya and, in time, the rest of East Java, the Dutch collaborated with leading regional magnates, including Ngabehi Soero Pernollo (1720–1776), his brother Han Bwee Kong, Kapitein der Chinezen (1727–1778), and the latter's son, Han Chan Piet, Majoor der Chinezen (1759–1827), all from the powerful Han family of Lasem.[32][33]

Coat of Arms of Soerabaia (old spelling of Surabaya) during Dutch colonial era, granted in 1931.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, Surabaya was the largest city in the Dutch East Indies. It became a major trading center under the Dutch colonial government and hosted the most extensive 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 was supported by its natural harbor.[34] In 1920, a census recorded that Batavia had become the largest city. 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 were given harsh sentences.[35]

Independence eraEdit

The burnt-out car of Brigadier Mallaby on the spot where he was killed by pro-independence Indonesian soldiers during the Battle of Surabaya on 31 October 1945

Japan occupied the city in 1942, as part of the Japanese occupation of the Dutch East Indies, and it was bombed by the Allies in 1944. After the surrender of Japan at the end of World War II, Surabaya was seized by Indonesian nationalists. The young nation soon came into conflict with the British, who had become caretakers of the Dutch colony after the Japanese surrender.[36]

The Battle of Surabaya, one of the well-known battles of the Indonesian revolution, started after the Arek-Arek Suroboyo (Teenagers of Surabaya) assassinated the British Brigadier Mallaby on 30 October 1945, near Jembatan Merah (the "Red Bridge"), allegedly with 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 10 November, which Indonesians subsequently celebrate as Hari Pahlawan (Heroes' Day) as a memory for the heroic effort of national heroes who fought that 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.[37]

The city is known as Kota Pahlawan (the city of heroes) due to the importance of the Battle of Surabaya in galvanising Indonesian and international support for Indonesian independence during the Indonesian National Revolution.[38]

Modern historyEdit

After the independence era, population growth and rapid urbanization forced Surabaya to develop towards the eastern and western part of the city as it is in the present day. Increasing motorized vehicles, rapid industrial growth and the proliferation of housing carried out by real estate companies that occupy the outskirts of the city have resulted not only in traffic jams in the downtown area, but also in the suburban areas of Surabaya.

In June 2011, Surabaya received the Adipura Kencana Award as number one among 20 cities in Indonesia. Surabaya was reported by a Singaporean as being clean and green.[39]

The first confirmed case of COVID-19 in East Java was in Surabaya, on 17 March 2020.[40] In May 2020, Surabaya became the epicenter of the pandemic in Indonesia.



Outskirts of Surabaya

Surabaya is located on the northern coast of East Java province. It is mostly lowlands with a river estuary of Kalimas, one of two branches of the Brantas River. Surabaya city borders Madura Strait in the north and east. The regencies surrounding Surabaya are:

Like many other large Indonesian metropolises, many residents reside outside the city limits in a metropolitan area called Gerbangkertosusila.


Panorama of Central Surabaya in 2019.
Panorama of Western Surabaya from city's outskirts in 2017.
Tunjungan street and Siola building in Downtown Surabaya.


Under the Köppen climate classification system, Surabaya features a tropical wet and dry climate (Aw), with distinct wet and dry seasons. The city's wet season runs from October through May, while the dry season covers the remaining four months. Unlike many cities and regions with a tropical wet and dry climate, average high and low temperatures are very consistent throughout the year, with an average high temperature of around 31 °C and average low temperatures around 23 °C.

Climate data for Surabaya, elevation: 5 m or 16 ft, extremes 1963–1980
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 33.3
Average high °C (°F) 31.8
Daily mean °C (°F) 26.8
Average low °C (°F) 24.1
Record low °C (°F) 21.1
Average rainfall mm (inches) 327
Average rainy days 17 18 19 15 13 7 5 3 4 11 12 23 147
Average relative humidity (%) 66.61 69.1 66.3 67.23 64.87 60.27 60.84 57.87 54.53 56.06 56.13 63.03 61.90
Mean monthly sunshine hours 140.6 123.6 143.2 155.8 188.9 199.3 223.8 245.5 228.8 221.0 182.6 138.1 2,191.2
Source 1: World Meteorological Organization;[41] (daily mean);[42] and Worldwide Bioclimatic Classification System (record extreme temperature)[43][44]
Source 2: WeatherOnline (2000–2019 sunshine data)[45]
Wind Speed and Humidity data for Surabaya
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Maximum Wind Speed (km/h) 23 16 16 26 27 29 40 34 34 35 29 21 27.5
Average Wind Speed (km/h) 13.39 12.10 13.30 14.37 20.26 16.87 22.71 22.16 22.8 22.35 18.6 13.55 17.71
Minimum Wind Speed (km/h) 8 10 10 10 3 5 11 11 14 10 11 10 9.42
Maximum Humidity (%) 86 75 83 92 96 77 67 69 64 73 65 79 77.17
Average Humidity (%) 66.61 69.1 66.3 67.23 64.87 60.27 60.84 57.87 54.53 56.06 56.13 63.03 61.9
Minimum Humidity (%) 44 60 59 58 53 47 52 47 46 42 46 53 50.58
Source: Climatevo[46]
Climate data for Surabaya
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average sea temperature °C (°F) 29.3
Mean daily daylight hours 12.5 12.3 12.1 11.9 11.8 11.7 11.7 11.9 12.1 12.3 12.5 12.5 12.1
Average Ultraviolet index 12 12 12 12 11 10 10 12 12 12 12 12 11.6
Source: Weather Atlas[47]

Urban forest and parksEdit

Bungkul Park, one of the most visited parks in Surabaya.

Surabaya is among the cleanest and greenest cities in Indonesia.[48] This can be seen by the urban parks which are equipped with fountains in almost every neighborhood area.[49] These parks include Bungkul Park, Harmoni Park, Pelangi Park, Surya Park, Mundu Park, Undaan Fruit Park, Jayengrono Park,[50] and others. Bungkul Park was awarded the Asian Townscape Award 2013 from the United Nations as the best park in Asia because of its very complete and integrated facilities, starting from the economic area (street food centers), green open area, parks, disability-friendly area, free internet (Wi-Fi), and routine garden maintenance management.[51]

Surabaya Mangrove Edu-Tourism Centre in Wonorejo District, East Surabaya.

The city of Surabaya is very outstanding in the field of environment.[52] The city has won many awards in the field of environment and city planning both nationally and internationally.[53] These awards have included Adipura, Adipura kencana, Adiwiyata, Wahyu Tata Nugraha, and other green awards, the Adipura Cup, which Surabaya won several times in the 1980s and 1990s, the Adipura Kencana trophy, the cleanest metropolitan city category in the 1990s and in the period of 2010 to 2017, seven consecutive times, as well as the Adipura trophy, plenary in 2016.[54] The city also received several awards from the central government as one of the major cities with the best air quality in Indonesia.[55] Surabaya in 2012 has won the award "City of the Best Participation in the Asia Pacific" by Citynet for the success of the city government and people's participation in managing the environment. Surabaya has also been awarded the ASEAN Environmentally Sustainable City Award or "the city with the best sustainable environmental management in ASEAN" in 2011 and 2014.[56] In 2018, Surabaya won the Lee Kuan Yew City Prize along with Hamburg, Kazan, and Tokyo, on the basis of the ability to maintain and manage villages in the middle of the city with excellent government management and community participation amid the rapidly developing city.[57] Surabaya became the first city in Indonesia to receive this award.[57][58] On the other hand, however, there are not a few areas in Surabaya that appear less organised, especially in the neighborhoods of Southern and Northern Surabaya.[59][60] This is the concern of the city government to reorganise the environment of the region.[61]


Districts of Surabaya.

The city has its own local government and legislative body. The mayor and members of representatives are locally elected by popular vote for a five-year term. The city government enjoys greater decentralisation of affairs than the provincial body, such as the provision of public schools, public health facilities, and public transportation. The current mayor of the city is Eri Cahyadi, the city's first female mayor is Tri Rismaharini, she has led Surabaya to achieve many regional, national and international awards since her first term began in 2010. In 2012, Surabaya was awarded the "ASEAN Environmentally Sustainable City Award". Besides Mayor and Vice Mayor, there is the Surabaya Municipal People's Representative Council, which is a legislative body of 50 council members directly elected by the people in legislative elections every five years.[62]

The city administration maintains a central command center since 2016, integrating all civic services including Satpol PP, Bakesbangpol and Linmas, Hygiene and Parks Service, Transportation Agency, Public Works Agency of Highways and Extermination, ambulance and fire services.[63][64] All services can be accessed by dialling 112 number. The city is dubbed as the champion of a smart city in Indonesia and won Indonesia Smart City Index (IKCI) in 2015 and 2018.[65] Surabaya also received an award at the Guangzhou International Award for Urban Innovation in the Online Popular City category and Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize in 2018.[66]

Surabaya is divided into thirty-one kecamatan (districts),[67][68] and subdivided into 154 kelurahan (urban villages). The districts are grouped into five areas: Central, North, South, East, and West. The districts are listed below with their areas and their populations at the 2010 Census[69] and the 2020 Census.[70]


The metropolitan area in 2014, seen from the International Space Station, the brightest section are Surabaya and its metropolitan areas
Historical population
Source: Various sources

1883–1961 : Surabaya: City of Work[71]
1897 : New International Encyclopedia[72]
1930 : Workers, Unions and Politics: Indonesia in the 1920s and 1930s[73]
1965 : World Population Review[74]

1971–2020 : Statistics Indonesia (BPS)

Surabaya is the second-most populous city in Indonesia, with 2,874,314 inhabitants recorded in the chartered city limits (kota) in the 2020 census.[75][76] With the extended metropolitan development area called Gerbangkertosusila (derived from Gresik-Bangkalan-Mojokerto-Surabaya-Sidoarjo-Lamongan) adding more than 12 million inhabitants in several cities and around 50 districts spread over noncontiguous urban areas including Gresik, Sidoarjo, Mojokerto, and Pasuruan regencies. The central government of Indonesia recognises only the metropolitan area (Surabaya, Gresik, and Sidoarjo) as Greater Surabaya (Zona Surabaya Raya) with a population of 8,319,229 (2015), making Surabaya now the second-largest metropolitan area in Indonesia.[77] The city is highly urbanised, with industries centralised in the city, and contains slums. As a leading education center, the city is also home for students from around Indonesia.[78]

Surabaya is an old city that has expanded over time, and its population continues to grow at roughly 2.2% per year. In recent years, more people have moved to Surabaya from nearby suburbs and villages in East Java.[79]


Javanese people form the majority in Surabaya while the Madurese are significant minorities.[80] Surabaya also has ethnic populations from other parts of Indonesia: Sundanese, Minang, Batak, Banjar, Balinese, and Bugis. Surabaya is one of the major cities in Indonesia that has a significant population of Chinese, Indian and Middle East people; there are Arabs, especially the Hadhrami people who originate from the Hadhramaut region in Yemen, Armenian people, and Jews.[81]


Most citizens speak a dialect of East Javanese called Suroboyoan, a subdialect of the Arekan dialect. A stereotype of this dialect concerns equality and directness in speech.[82] The use of register is less strict than the Central Java dialect.[83] The Suroboyoan dialect is a mixture of both Indonesian and Javanese, also with some significant influence from foreign languages such as Madurese, which has formed a distinctive dialect known as Suroboyoan. The Suroboyoan dialect is actively promoted in local media, such as in local TV shows, radio, newspapers, and traditional dramas called Ludruk.[84]


Religion in Surabaya 2019

  Islam (85.5%)
  Protestantism (8.89%)
  Roman catholic (3.91%)
  Buddhism (1.42%)
  Hinduism (0.25%)
  Confucianism (0.02%)
  Other (0.01%)
Hadhrami immigrants in Surabaya, circa 1920s

Although around 80% of citizens in Surabaya adhere to Sunni Islam, other major religions include Christianity (Roman Catholicism, Protestantism, and Orthodox), of whom the majority are Roman Catholics. The influence of Hinduism is strong in basic Surabayan culture, but only a minority of the population adheres to Hinduism, mostly among the ethnic Indian[85] and Balinese minorities. Also, a significant population of Chinese Indonesians adhere to Buddhism and Confucianism, and a small community of Dutch Jews follow Judaism.[86]

The city had an influential role as a major Islamic center in Java during the Wali Sanga era.[87] The prominent and honored Islamic figure in Surabaya was Sunan Ampel (Raden Rahmat).[87] His tomb is a sacred religious site in the city and is visited by Surabayans and pilgrims from different parts of Indonesia. The largest Muslim organisation in Indonesia, Nahdlatul Ulama, was established in Surabaya on 26 January 1926.[88] Al-Akbar Mosque is the largest mosque in the city and one of the largest mosque in the world.[89]

Christianity as a whole is mainly practised by Chinese Indonesians, as well as native Javanese, Bataks, and Ambonese who attend either a Roman Catholic or Protestant church.[90][91] A minority of Javanese practice at the Gereja Kejawen - the traditional/original wise religion of Java,[92]. Around 15 churches are in Surabaya; they vary in size. The Church of the Birth of Our Lady, also known as Gereja Kepanjen, was built in 1815 as the first church in Surabaya and is one of the oldest churches in Indonesia.[93] The main Orthodox Church in Indonesia, St Nikolas Church, is also based in Surabaya. The Orthodox Christian Center Surabaya was opened on 15 October 2008.[94]

Once the major religion in Surabaya and across the archipelago during the Janggala and Majapahit era, Hinduism played a major role in traditional Surabayan culture.[95] Small Hindu communities still exist, most commonly in the eastern sections of the city.[96] Surabaya was the location of the only synagogue in Java,[97] but it rarely obtained a minyan (quorum). The synagogue was demolished in 2013 by unidentified persons while the city council was in the process of registering it as a heritage site.[98] In the years before its demolition, it had been the site of many anti-Israel protests.[98] A Jewish cemetery exists in the city.[99][100]


Ludruk is a native Surabaya-genre play (theatre).

Javanese culture in Surabaya has distinctive characteristics compared to other regions, the uniqueness of its characteristics which is more egalitarian and open. Surabaya is known to have several distinctive arts, namely:

  • Ludruk, a cultural drama performance art that tells daily routine of working-class people.[101]
  • Remo Dance, a traditional welcome dance that is generally dedicated to special guests.[102]
  • Kidungan, a poetry musicalisation and contains elements of humor.[citation needed]

In addition to the art above, the call culture of arek or rek (a distinctive call from Surabaya) is also a unique characteristic. There are other distinctive calls as well, namely Cak for men and Ning for women. In an effort to preserve culture, Cak & Ning Surabaya is selected once a year, and the selected finalists are tourism ambassadors and icons of the young generation of the city.[103]

Cak Durasim Festival (FCD) is held annually, which is an art festival to preserve the culture of Surabaya and East Java in general. The Cak Durasim Festival is usually held at Cak Durasim Building.[104] There is also the Surabaya Art Festival (FSS) which raises all kinds of art forms such as theatre, dance, music, literary seminars, painting exhibitions. Event organisers usually aside from art groups in Surabaya also come from outside the city. Also enlivened is the screening of movie screens and T-shirt exhibitions. The Surabaya Art Festival is held once a year in June and is usually held at the Youth Hall.[citation needed]

In addition to Javanese culture, there has also been a mixture of various cultures such as from Madura, the Arab world, India, the Malay world, China and Europe. The Surabaya Cross Culture is an annual art and culture festival that show various cultures outside Indonesia.[105]


Downtown Central Surabaya
Central business district in Western Surabaya

Since the early 1900s, Surabaya has been one of the most important and busiest trading city ports in Asia.[106] Principal exports from the port include sugar, tobacco, and coffee.[107] Its rich history as a trading port has led to a strong financial infrastructure with modern economic institutions such as banks, insurance, and sound export-import companies. The economy is influenced by the recent growth in international industries and the completion of the Suramadu Bridge. The high potential and economic activities make the city an attractive destination to foreign investors. The city is home to a large shipyard and numerous specialized naval schools.[108] The Bank of Indonesia has also made plans for Surabaya to be the Islamic financial center of Indonesia.[109][110]


As the provincial capital, Surabaya has numerous offices and business centers; as a metropolitan city, it became the center of economic, financial, and business activities in East Java and beyond. Also, Surabaya is the second-largest port city in Indonesia after Jakarta. As a trading center, Surabaya is not only a trade center for East Java, but also facilitates areas in Central Java, Kalimantan, and Eastern Indonesia. Surabaya's strategic location in almost in the center of Indonesia and just south of Asia makes it one of the critical hubs for trading activities in Southeast Asia.[111] It is currently in the process of building high-rise skyscrapers, including apartments, condominiums, and hotels to attract foreign capital. Surabaya and the surrounding area are undergoing the most rapidly growing and the most advanced economic development in Indonesia. The city is also one of the most essential cities in supporting Indonesia's economy.

Most of the population is engaged in services, industry, and trade. Surabaya is a fast-growing trading center. Major industries include shipbuilding, heavy equipment, food processing and agriculture, electronics, home furnishings, and handicrafts. Many major multinational companies are based in Surabaya, such as Sampoerna, Maspion, Wings Group, Unilever Indonesia, Pakuwon Group, Jawa Pos Group, and PAL Indonesia.[112][113]

Business districtsEdit

The area between Jalan Basuki Rachmat, Jalan Tunjungan,[114] Jalan Embong Malang, and Jalan Bubutan has grown as a business center and has turned into one of the main business and trade activities areas in Surabaya. Some of the important buildings in this area include Wisma BRI Surabaya, Hotel Bumi Surabaya, Wisma Dharmala Surabaya, The Peak Residence, and Sheraton Hotel.[115][116]

Another cluster around Jalan Mayjend Sungkono, Jalan Adityawarman, Jalan HR Muhammad, and Jalan Bukit Darmo has grown as a new business center of the city. This area has now grown as one of the most rapidly growing commercial and business centers in East Java, with high-rise buildings. Some of the tallest buildings in Surabaya are located in this area, such as Adhiwangsa Apartment, Waterplace Residence, Puri Matahari, Beverly Park Apartment, The Via & The Vue Apartment, Ciputra World Hotel, Puncak Permai Apartment, and Rich Palace Hotel.[117][118]


Surabaya has plenty of shopping centers like other major cities of Indonesia, ranging from traditional markets to most modern shopping malls. Outlets of local and international brands have a presence in modern shopping malls. There were about 100 hectares/one million square metres of retail space in Surabaya by the end of 2016.[119] There are many dedicated markets for electronic goods, gadgets and computer hardware.

Some important shopping malls of the city are:



Cheng Hoo (Zheng He) Mosque, Surabaya
Majapahit Hotel building is a cultural heritage of Surabaya
Modern architecture of Surabaya Mangrove Edu-Tourism Centre in Wonorejo District, East Surabaya.

Architecture in Surabaya is a mixture of colonial, Asian, Javanese, modern, and post-modern influences. There are many colonial-era relics still standing today, such as Hotel Majapahit and Surabaya Post Office. As a relatively old city in Indonesia and Southeast Asia, most colonial buildings were built around the 17th century to the early 20th century.[125] These buildings show the influence of Dutch or European style in the Middle Ages.[126]

Before the Second World War, there were many shophouses in the old part of the city, mostly two-storey.[127] They display the influence of European and Chinese traditions. Although some have been dismantled for new construction, there are still many old buildings that are preserved as cultural heritage and city icons, which are around the area of Kembang Jepun Street, Karet Street, Gula Street, Slompretan Street, and Rajawali Street.[128]

After the independence of Indonesia, the center of Surabaya's architectural development was concentrated only in the area of Jembatan Merah and its surroundings. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, modern and post-modern style buildings were increasingly emerging in Surabaya. Along with economic development, such buildings have continued to grow. In the 2010s, Surabaya has become a center of skyscrapers and high-rises in East Java and central regions of Indonesia, such as The Peak Residence – Tunjungan Plaza 6 (215 meters) and One Icon Residence – Tunjungan Plaza 5 (200 meters).[129]

Important landmarksEdit

Jalesveva Jayamahe Monument, waterfront statue of Northern Surabaya
  • Suramadu Bridge, which connect Surabaya to the nearby Madura island.
  • Kebun Binatang Surabaya (Surabaya Zoo) opened in 1916. It was the first Zoo in the world to breed orangutans in captivity.
  • Zheng He (Cheng Ho) Mosque, a recently built mosque, one of the unique mosques with Chinese-style architecture in Indonesia. Dedicated to the Hui Chinese diplomat, Zheng He.[130]
  • Al-Akbar Mosque, the largest mosque in East Java.[131]
  • Church of the Birth of Our Lady, Surabaya, one of the first churches to be built in Indonesia, and the first one ever built in East Java.[132]
  • Heroes Monument, a 41 metres (135 ft) high monument, is the main symbol of Surabaya and commemorates the heroes of the revolutionary struggle. There is a museum on location as well, exhibiting reminders of the struggle for independence.[133]
  • Museum Nahdlatul Ulama, the resource center of the culture and history of Nahdlatul Ulama, an independent Islamic religious organization.[134] organisation.
  • Museum Bank Indonesia, a bank museum occupying the former De Javasche Bank built in 1904.[135]
  • House of Sampoerna, a museum devoted to the history of clove cigarette (kretek) manufacturing in Indonesia, housed in Dutch colonial buildings dating to 1864.[136]
    Wisma Intiland, most famous brutalist building in Surabaya.
  • Jalesveva Jayamahe Monument, a large, admiral-like statue which commemorates the Indonesian Navy.
  • Monkasel, abbreviated from Monumen Kapal Selam (Submarine Monument)[137] 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.[citation needed] After its decommissioning, Pasopati was dismantled and transferred to its present site in 1996. The submarine was reassembled on the current site and opened as a museum and tourist attraction in 1998.
  • Kenjeran Beach, located in the eastern of Surabaya, which also housed Sanggar Agung, a Chinese temple built over the sea.[138]
  • Market of the Chinese Tomb,[139] last resting place of Han Bwee Kong, Kapitein der Chinezen, magnate, mandarin and landlord in Surabaya and East Java, and patriarch of the patrician Han family of Lasem[140]
  • Han Ancestral Hall,[141] a historic house that serves as a memorial temple for the ancestors of the Han family of Lasem[142][143]
  • Tomb of Sunan Ampel[144]
  • Bungkul Park, one of the most visited urban parks in Surabaya.[145]
  • Wisma Intiland, a brutalist building in Downtown Surabaya.[146]
  • Museum Pendidikan Surabaya[147]

Military establishmentEdit

The Eastern Fleet, one of three fleets in the Indonesian Navy, is headquartered in the city. Its maritime heritage is also represented in the form of KRI Pasopati Submarine Monument, a retired Russian Whiskey class submarine.[148][149]


Transportation in Surabaya is supported by land and sea infrastructure serving local, regional, and international journeys. Air transport is located at Juanda Airport, at Sedati, Sidoarjo. Intracity transport is primarily by motor vehicles, motorcycles and taxis with limited public bus transport available. Recently Surabaya has been declared as the city with the worst congestion in Indonesia, according to a survey[150]

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. In 2018, President Joko Widodo inaugurated final segments of the Trans-Java Toll Road, fully connecting Jakarta and Surabaya with expressways.[151]


Surabaya's Juanda International Airport is a passenger and cargo airport which also serves as Surabaya's Navy Airbase, operated by the TNI-AL (Indonesian Navy) and located just outside Surabaya, on the outskirts of Sidoarjo. This airport has served Surabaya for many years and currently has two terminals, with domestic flights served from Terminal 1 and all international flights and Garuda Indonesia's domestic flights serviced from Terminal 2.[citation needed]

Ujung passenger Port


Port of Tanjung Perak is the trading port in East Java and is one of the busiest ports in the country. It is the second-largest port of trade, container and passenger traffic in Indonesia after the Port of Tanjung Priok in Jakarta. There is also Teluk Lamong Port Terminal, which is the main buffer terminal of Tanjung Perak Port. The port terminal of Lamong Bay is the first green port in Indonesia and is one of the most sophisticated port terminals in the world where the entire operating system is automated.[citation needed]


Surabaya has three major train stations, being Surabaya Kota (also known as Semut), Surabaya Pasar Turi, and Surabaya Gubeng. The Argo Bromo Anggrek operated by Kereta Api Indonesia (KAI) connects Surabaya from Surabaya Pasar Turi Station to Gambir Station in Jakarta. Both economy and executive class trains are served to and from Surabaya.[citation needed]

Pedicabs (becak) in the street in Surabaya

Commuter trains in the city has 5 separate lines (as of 2021) that connect Surabaya with surrounding regencies. Their services, also operated by KAI, have extended into Lamongan, Mojokerto, Sidoarjo, and Pasuruan.[citation needed]

Surabaya formerly had an approximately 50 kilometres (31 mi) of tram network, operated by a private company Oost-Java Stoomtram Maatschappij. It was opened in 1889 and closed by PJKA (former name of KAI) in 1978. There are plans to reopen the network in the future.[citation needed]

Surabaya MRT (planned) with Track Gauge Standard 1,435 mm (4 ft 8+12 in) and from KOICA Railways Mass transit in Surabaya, Surabaya MRT with Rolling stock Hyundai Rotem, Rapid transit Jakarta and Surabaya corridor. System Mass Metro Rapid transit in Greater Surabaya (Surabaya, Gresik and Sidoarjo) on the Generation surabaya mass rapid transit with track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8+12 in) in Korea Rapid Transit from prime minister Chung Sye-kyun, of Eri Cahyadi Mayor of the Surabaya City of Rail Transport in Indonesia-Korea.[citation needed]


The main bus terminal is Terminal Purabaya (located in Bungurasih, Waru, Sidoarjo), the other major terminal is Osowilangon in Tambak.[152]

Public transportEdit

There are various kinds of local transport, including taxi-cabs, Suroboyo Bus, shuttle bus service, city bus, angkot, and commuter rail. Go-Jek and Grab are also available throughout the city.[153][154]

Suramadu BridgeEdit

Suramadu bridge at night.

The Suramadu Bridge (derived from Surabaya-Madura) connects Surabaya and Madura Island over the Madura Strait. A 16 kilometres (9.9 mi) highway has been proposed to be built from the Suramadu Bridge to Madura International Seaport-City in Pernajuh village, Kocah district, Bangkalan, Madura at the cost of approximately Rp. 60 billion (US$7 billion). This container port was built to ease the burden on Surabaya's overloaded Tanjung Perak Port.[155]


Universities and post-secondary institutionsEdit

Surabaya has several major universities and institutions, including those with religious or technical specialties (sorted by importance):

Airlangga University (UNAIR) main entrance.
  • Universitas 17 Agustus 1945 (Untag) Surabaya, one of the oldest private universities in Surabaya.
  • Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember (ITS), a major public technological institute teaches robotics and mechanics, and is the center of Ship and Ocean Structure Design to support offshore exploration.[157]
  • State University of Surabaya (UNESA), a major university educating teachers; also with programs in Economics, Technology, and Law.[158]
  • Universitas Kristen Petra, a major Christian private university in Indonesia, with programs in Economics, Technology, Designs, Technical, Literature and Education. Established in 1961, it is the oldest major Christian university in Indonesia.[159]
  • Electronic Engineering Polytechnic Institute of Surabaya (PENS-PPNS), a major technical public institution located in Surabaya.[160]
  • Hang Tuah University, a university managed by Yayasan Nala, founded by the Indonesian Navy.[161]
  • Universitas Bhayangkara, a university affiliated with the Indonesian Police Department of East Java.[162]
  • Institut Sains Terapan dan Teknologi Surabaya, a private institute specializing in electronics, computer technologies, and communication and product design.[163]
  • Universitas Pembangunan Nasional "Veteran" Jawa Timur, a public institute in Surabaya.[164]
  • Adhi Tama Institute of Technology Surabaya, an institute specializing in Technical Studies.[165]
  • State Islamic University of Sunan Ampel (UINSA), a public university for Islamic studies.[166]
  • University of Surabaya, a private university teaching Pharmacy and Psychology, established in 1968.[167]
  • Wijaya Putra University a public University established in 1984.[168]
  • Wijaya Kusuma University Surabaya, a university which is the oldest private faculty of medicine in eastern Indonesia. Established in 1981, the Faculty of Medicine was founded in 1986.[169]
  • Widya Mandala Catholic University, a Catholic private university in Surabaya with facilities for Healthcare Studies at a newly opened third campus in the eastern part of the city. Widya Mandala Catholic University one of the Catholic oldest private universities in Surabaya which was established in 1960.[170]
  • Widya Kartika Catholic University, a Catholic private university in Surabaya.[171]
  • Pelita Harapan University, a private university in Indonesia founded in 1994.[172]
  • Ciputra University, a private entrepreneurial-oriented university founded in 2006 by the Ciputra Group.[173]
  • Narotama University (UNNAR), a private university in Surabaya.[174]
  • Muhammadiyah University of Surabaya (UM Surabaya), an Islamic private university established in 1964.

Primary and secondary schoolsEdit

Petra Christian High School

International schools include:

Private schools include:

  • Petra Christian School[180]
  • St. Louis Catholic School[181]
  • St. Agnes Catholic School[182]
  • Angelus Custos Catholic School[183]
  • GLORIA Christian School[184]
  • IPH Christian School[185]
  • JAC School


Rujak cingur, specialty of Surabaya.

As a metropolitan city, all types of Indonesian cuisine and other international restaurants have a presence.[186] However, as the capital of East Java, cuisines from the rest of the province dominate the culinary culture of the city. East Javanese cuisines include a variety of processed fruits, crispy tempeh, Bakpao telo, Bakso Malang, Rawon, tahu campur lamongan, Cwie noodles, tahu takwa, tahu pong, getuk pisang, pecel madiun, wingko, tape, nasi krawu, otak-otak bandeng, bonggolan, shrimp crackers, shrimp paste or petis, Tempeh Chips, tahu tepo, Nasi lethok, sego tempong, salad soup, pecel rawon, Suwar-suwir, tape proll, gaplek, lodho, goat satay, and pecel tulungagung.[187]

Surabaya is famous for Rawon, Rujak cingur, Semanggi, Lontong Balap, clams satay, mussels, and rice cake.[188]

  • Rujak cingur:[189] a marinated cow snout or lips and noses (cingur), served with boiled vegetables and shrimp crackers. It is then dressed in a sauce made of caramelised fermented shrimp paste (petis), peanuts, chili, and spices. It is usually served with lontong, a boiled rice cake. Rujak cingur is considered traditional food of Surabaya.
  • Rawon: a dark beef soup, served with mung bean sprouts and the ubiquitous sambal. The dark (almost black) color comes from the kluwak (Pangium edule) nuts.[190]
  • Lontong kupang: lontong with small cockles in petis sauce.[191]
  • Semanggi: a salad made of boiled semanggi (Marsilea crenata) leaves that grow in paddy fields. It is dressed in a spicy peanut sauce. It is usually eaten with rice crackers.[192]


Ultras choreography of Persebaya.

Surabaya is a barometer and center of association football development in Indonesia. The city has many association football clubs founded in Surabaya. The first club was founded by the youth of Hoogere Burger School (HBS) John Edgar with the Victoria club in 1895.[193][194] Others included Scoren Is Ons Doel (SIOD), Sparta, Rapiditas and Thot Heil Onzer Ribben (THOR). These are the pioneers of association football in Surabaya. The clubs then took management under Oost Java Voetbalbond (OJVB) in 1907. Two years later, the OJVB changed to Soerabajasche Voetbalbond (SVB). Starting in 1914, SVB was based on the Nederlandsch Indische Voetbalbond (NIVB), created by Dutch football federation (KNVB). The Surabaya Chinese and native people also founded their association football clubs by ethnicity. Oei Kwie Liem founded Hoa Soerabaja in 1914, while the Bumiputera through R Pamoedji and Paidjo founded the Soerabajasche Indonesische Voetbalbond (SIVB) on 18 June 1927 (now Persebaya), which three years later co-founded the PSSI.[195][194]

In 1950, the working-class people and office men founded Soerabajasche Kantoor Voetbalbond (SKVB).[196][197] The association football sector in Indonesia and specifically Surabaya became more developed, and the football association of Indonesia founded a semi-professional competition in 1979, which was named the Main Football League (Galatama). A new team emerged from Surabaya, NIAC Partners and the Salim Group Association. Besides Galatama, PSSI also formed a women's soccer competition called the Women's Football League (Galanita). Surabaya also has a women's soccer team, which was founded in 1977 and named Puteri Puspita. Clubs from Surabaya have also gained attention from the rest of the world. Persebaya has competed against European teams including Lokomotiv Moscow, Sturm Graz, Grasshoppers, Salzburg, Stade de Reims, Ajax Amsterdam, PSV Eindhoven, AC Milan, and lastly, Queens Park Rangers (QPR). Aside from European teams, there are several national teams outside the country competing against Persebaya, including Yugoslavia Olympics, Malaysia, Mozambique, Uruguay, Thailand, South Korea, and the Japanese national team.[197]

NIAC Mitra also competed against Arsenal and won the Aga Khan Gold Cup competition in 1979 in Bangladesh. The achievements of NIAC Mitra in the Galatama competition included three championships in 1980–1982, 1982–1983, and 1987–1988, and finishing as runners-up in 1988–89. However, NIAC Partners officially dissolved and withdrew from the Galatama competition held by PSSI in 1990 because they considered the policies issued by PSSI irrelevant. After being disbanded, the demands of the Surabaya community to revive the NIAC Partners were channelled when the Jawa Pos party weighed in and changed the name of the NIAC Partner to the Surabaya Partner.[198] When the Union competition was merged with Galatama in 1994, the new Persebaya was able to win in 1997 and 2004. Persebaya was listed as the first team capable of winning the Indonesian League twice. Mitra Surabaya was only able to exist until the 1998–1999 season and it was re-established again in another city, Tenggarong and has not used the name of Surabaya again.[199]

Recently, only Persebaya has stable fans and achievements. Persebaya has won the Indonesian Premier Division three times–twice when the division was the first tier and once as the second tier. Fans refer to themselves as Bonek, an abbreviation for Bondo Nekat (which translates as "equipped by bravery"). The city is the home of CLS Knights Indonesia, a basketball club which participated in IBL (Indonesia basketball league) & Asean Basketball League.

Surabaya has a multi-purpose stadium, Gelora Bung Tomo Stadium. The stadium is used mostly for football matches. It is the new home stadium of Persebaya, replacing Gelora 10 November Stadium.[200] It was the venue of a match between Persebaya 1927 against then–English Premier League club Queens Park Rangers, held on 23 July 2012.

Another prevalent sport is badminton. There are numerous schools and clubs in the city that train students of various ages to reach the next level of the Badminton League.[201] Many children start out their career from Surabaya and have made it to the national and sometimes international level.


One of the largest circulating national newspapers in Indonesia, Jawa Pos, is headquartered in Surabaya; alongside its media conglomerate Jawa Pos Group. Major newspapers include Surabaya Pagi and Surya.

Surabaya is served by many radio and television networks. Radio networks affiliates include the public RRI Surabaya, Gen FM Surabaya and Prambors FM Surabaya; as well as local stations Suara Surabaya and Radio Istara. Local television stations include the public 1suara Jawa Timur, JTV (both are regional stations serving East Java, which are based in the city), SBO TV, Surabaya TV and Nahdlatul Ulama-affiliated TV9.

International relationsEdit

Diplomatic MissionsEdit

General ConsulatesEdit


Other diplomatic officesEdit

  • Taiwan (Taipei Economic and Trade Office in Surabaya)[228]

Twin towns – sister citiesEdit

Surabaya is twinned with:

Notable peopleEdit


See alsoEdit



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External linksEdit

  • "Official Site". Pemerintah Kota Surabaya (in Indonesian).{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  • "Surabaya News". (in Indonesian). 9 December 2015. Archived from the original on 9 December 2015.
  • "Surabaya" . Collier's New Encyclopedia. 1921.
  • "Surabaya or Soerabaya. The largest city in Java" . New International Encyclopedia. 1905.