Sam Poo Kong (Gedung Batu Temple)
In the Ming Dynasty, during the treasure voyages of Zheng He, Admiral Zheng allied China with the Asian and African countries in the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean, which helped to forge trading and cultural interactions among them. Bergota, where the great voyager landed in Java Island, was renamed after him as “Semarang” to commemorate his contributions towards the history of Indonesia. Zheng He built a Chinese temple there for performing Islamic salah (obligatory prayer of Islam). It collapsed in a landslide in 1704. The local community rebuilt it in a different location 20 years later. It became the red colour temple crowned with a triple-layered pagoda-style roof honouring Zheng He and Captain Wang Jing Hong, who stayed behind to help construct Indonesia.
The five temples in the Sam Poo Kong complex embrace both Chinese and Javanese architectural styles. The temples worship Zheng He, Wang Jing Hong and the Earth God. They also house the anchors Zheng He and his crew used, and the guandao (a type of Chinese pole weapon) of Zheng He. The anniversary of Zheng He's arrival in Semarang falls on the 30th day of the sixth lunar month, on which a massive ceremony is to take place. Indonesian Chinese hold the statue of Zheng He for a procession symbolising the great admiral making the rounds in the city. The ceremony is not exclusive for Chinese only today. It welcomes the vibrant participation of different ethnicities and religious groups.