Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Surabaya, the second largest city in Indonesia, is similar to other metropolitan cities, being characterized by traffic and crowds, and it never sleeps.

Having quite a hot and humid weather, the city has a few nature tourism attractions, namely Kenjeran Beach and the Wonorejo mangrove forest. Other tourist attractions include the museums, monuments and parks.

Under the leadership of Mayor Tri Rismaharini, the city has won a lot of international awards, with the latest one from "The 4th Guangzhou International Award for Urban Innovation".

Surabaya, the capital of East Java Province, won an award for its project dubbed "Public Participation in 3R Waste Management for a Better Surabaya".

Mayor Risma recently revealed that the city would have an urban forest to help curb flooding and pollution in Warugunung, Karang Pilang Sub-district.

A small reservoir will also be built in the location to hold rainwater, and at least one thousand trees, mostly of fruit-bearing varieties, will be planted around the small reservoir.

Beyond the monuments and the beach, Surabaya is dubbed as the City of Hero and actually has many historical and religious tourist destinations.

The Surabaya Heritage Tract will take tourists on a tour around North of Surabaya or also known as Old Surabaya, by bus, to see old buildings constructed during the Dutch and Japanese colonial eras.

The Surabaya Municipality is currently renovating old buildings as part of its program to promote its old city as a tourist destination, in cooperation with paint companies.

Risma suggested that bright colors be used to beautify the old city. Irawan Bahtera, director of PT ICI Paints Indonesia, said a total of 117 old and historic buildings would be repainted as part of the urban tourism development program. The buildings are located on the Veteran, Karet, and Kali Mas streets, among others.

Surabaya, which was the Dutch Indies port town in the 16th century, has a large modern port of Tanjuk Perak and a traditional harbor of Kali Mas, which are both located in North Surabaya.

As a result, the city has a multiethnic population, with the majority being Javanese and others including people of Madurese, Chinese, Arab, and Indian descents.

Its old city area is located in North Surabaya, specifically around "Jembatan Merah" or the Red Bridge, where one can find several of the best historical buildings, including structures with colonial Dutch architecture and Chinese temples.

The most striking landmark in Surabaya`s old city area is the 15th-century Ampel Mosque, which stands within the vibrant Arab quarter.

The Grand Mosque of Sunan Ampel was built by Sunan Ampel, one of the Wali Songo, or the Nine Muslim Saints, in the 15th century and has become one of Surabaya`s main religious tourism destinations.

Born in 1401 in Champa, Cambodia, Sunan Ampel`s real name was Mohammad Ali Rahmatullah and was a descendant of Ibrahim Asmarakandi, a prince of Champa, who lived and stayed in the town of Tuban in East Java.

Sunan Ampel spent his entire life in the Ampel Mosque until his death in 1481. His tomb is located on the right side of the mosque.

The Sunan Ampel Grand Mosque is one of the oldest mosques in Indonesia and has been built using a combination of Javanese and Arabic architecture and strong teak wood.

Meanwhile, Surabaya hopes to significantly improve tourist arrivals in East Java Province, which has surpassed its tourist target of 60 million people this year.

"In East Java, the number of domestic tourist arrivals exceeded the target of 60 million, while the number of foreign tourists reached more than 600 thousand," Saidi, head of the East Java culture and tourism office, said recently.

East Java has many diverse tourist destinations, including religious sites and eco-tourism destinations.

Most of the domestic tourists visited religious sites, while foreign tourists visited eco-tourism destinations such as Mount Bromo (2,329 meters above sea level), Mount Semeru (3,676 meters), and Banyuwangi.

The Central Government has helped promote the province`s tourist destinations and improve the relevant facilities and infrastructure, including toll roads, airports and seaports.

Tourist cruise ships have entered the province through seaports in Surabaya and other ports, including Gili Labak Island in Madura.

Saidi stressed that tourism promotion would be optimized to attract more foreign tourists from varied countries to visit East Java.

The government has planned to build a toll road connecting Kertosono, Kediri and Tulungagung, and to construct an airport in Kediri.

In fact, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) expressed optimism that the toll road from Jakarta to Surabaya would be ready in December 2019.

"I am very happy that this morning, we will inaugurate the Solo-Ngawi toll road in the Sragen-Ngawi segment. It means that soon, from Jakarta to Surabaya, at the end of this year, God willing, everything would be connected," President Jokowi remarked while inaugurating the Sragen-Ngawi toll road in Sragen, Central Java, last November.

Jokowi believed that with the completion of the Jakarta-Surabaya toll road construction, the integration of the tourism industry would improve.

Editing by Bustanuddin

Reporter: Fardah Assegaf
Editor: Heru Purwanto
Copyright © ANTARA 2018