8 Most Unique and Beautiful Churches in Indonesia

Indonesia is a diverse country, with various religions blending into one harmonious society. Having been a heavily cultural nation for decades, the religions in Indonesia are often acculturated with the traditional cultures from different tribes and regions. That’s why you can see unique churches in Indonesia that reflect the rich heritage and history of the people.

If you are looking for a spiritual journey to celebrate Christmas as well as Indonesian culture, you might want to visit some of these amazing churches that will awe you with their architecture, design, and story.

Here are some of the best churches in Indonesia that you should not miss!

Gereja Ayam, Jakarta

Photo: National Geographic Indonesia

Gereja Ayam, (literally translates to “Chicken Church”) is a Protestant church in Jakarta that has a unique chicken symbol above its dome, which actually functions as a lightning rod! The church was built between 1913 and 1915 by Ed Cuypers and Hulswit, who designed it with a mix of Italian and Portuguese styles. 

The church was originally named Gereja Baru, or the New Church, and was initially built as a critique towards the Dutch colonials by the Indonesian people. Back in the day, he citizens were not allowed to go to Immanuel Church as it  was exclusive only for the Dutch colonials.

For over 100 years, the church has grown to become an important historical site. Now, the church is called Gereja Pniel and still has a historic interior that features teak furniture with a Dutch Bible from 1855. The church even survived the 1998 riots and remains a symbol of resilience and faith until now.

Gereja Immanuel, Jakarta

Photo: Kompas.id

Considered as one of the oldest churches in Indonesia, Gereja Immanuel stands on the corner of Jalan Medan Merdeka Timur and Jalan Pejambon, part of the 19th century’s Weltevreden district or New district.

The neoclassical-style church was built in 1834 by J.H. Horst, and was inaugurated in 1839 as Willemskerk (William’s Church), to honor King William I of the Netherlands. It has a different design than the normal church–a circular layout with a diameter of 9.5 meters and a marble floor.

The inside, all circular and grand, feels like a courthouse with a special section for the VVIPs like kings or queens. If you decide to come by, don’t forget to take a look at this ancient organ made by Jonathan Batz in 1843 that’s still getting played during the worship sessions.

Also Read: 10+ Interesting Places in Jakarta That are Well Worth the Visit

Gereja Ganjuran, Yogyakarta

Photo: Tempo.co

Gereja Ganjuran is a Catholic church in Yogyakarta with a unique twist to it, due to its architecture being heavily influenced by the traditional Javanese style.

The church was built in 1924 by the Dutch plantation owners, Joseph and Julius Schmutzer, who wanted to spread Christianity among the local people. With a pyramid-shaped roof, wooden pillars, and Javanese royal costumes adorning statues of Jesus and Mary in the garden, this unique church is a celebration of faith with a touch of Javanese finesse.

Gua Maria Sendangsono, Yogyakarta

Photo: IDN Times

For a more intimate spiritual experience, head to Gua Maria Sendangsono, a Catholic pilgrimage site in Yogyakarta. This spiritual place was founded in 1904 by Father Van Lith, a Dutch Jesuit priest, who baptized the first Javanese Catholics there.

This site boasts a natural cave with a spring, a statue of Mary cradling baby Jesus given by the Queen of Spain, and a breathtaking view of the Menoreh Hills and Progo River. Apart from praying, thousands of pilgrims who regularly visit the cave also take water from the spring there, as it was believed to be sacred and capable of healing diseases.

Also Read: Ultimate Jogja Travel Guide: 14 Fantastic Things to Do in Jogja

Gereja Blenduk, Semarang

Photo: Tempo.co

Gereja Blenduk will take us back to 1753 when the Dutch East India Company left an indelible mark. Its flattened sphere dome and baroque facade make it a standout in Semarang’s Old Town, a living testament to colonial history.

The history of Gereja Blenduk is seriously ancient, first built by the Portuguese folks back in 1753. Back in the day, the church building was pretty simple, like a Javanese elevated house. Then, in 1894 – 1895, the Dutch revamped the whole thing, slapping on two towers and turning the roof into a half-sphere dome and earning it the nickname Gereja Blenduk—Javanese for “bulging” or “swelling.”

Inside, there’s a bunch of ancient stuff still intact and looking good. An over 200 year-old towering organ, Roman-style windows, and single wooden seats made from teak for the congregation are some of the church elements you should definitely look forward to.

Gereja Pohsarang, Kediri

Photo: Wikipedia

In Kediri, there’s this Catholic Church called Gereja Pohsarang chilling on the slopes of Mount Wilis. The air there is super chill, giving off those peaceful vibes that draw pilgrims in for some prayer or maybe a bit of meditation. Oh, and fun fact: it’s in the same complex as the Pohsarang Maria Cave.

Now, let’s talk about the church’s architecture—it’s a real blend of Javanese and Catholic vibes. First established back in 1936, this place has an altar made of solid stone that weighs a whopping seven tons. And that’s not all; outside, you’ve got an altar shaped like Borobudur stupa, towers mimicking Candi Bentar, some gamelan instruments, and more. All of this creativity comes courtesy of the architect, Ir. H Maclaine Pont from the Netherlands. 

Also Read: Traveling for the Holidays? Follow These Tips to Stay Sane

Gereja Palasari, Bali

Photo: balinews.co.id

Bali is known for its Hindu religion, but there is also the Sacred Heart of Jesus Palasari Church or Palasari Church, which is the oldest church in West Bali. This church has a unique building, with a distinctive Balinese architectural style that attracts many tourists who come for spiritual tourism.

This Catholic church is a legacy of Dutch colonialism, initiated by Father Simon Buis SDV. Palasari Church was first built in 1940, when the King of Jembrana gave land for the settlement of Catholic people. Then in 1941, the church location was moved to the north of the land, right where the church is now located. It was not until 1955 that the church building was rebuilt permanently with a design by architect Bruger Ign. AMD Vrieze SVD.

Graha Maria Annai Velangkanni, North Sumatra

Photo: Wikipedia

In North Sumatra, you will find Graha Maria Annai Velangkanni, a Catholic church that pays homage to Hindu aesthetics. The site has a rich sense of India-Mughal vibes to it, designed almost like a Hindu Temple with its vibrant colors. This majestic structure started taking shape back in 2001 and finally wrapped up in 2005, costing 4 billion rupiahs in total.

Considered as one of the most unique churches in Indonesia, it was first built by Father James Bharataputra, an Indian pastor, who wanted to create a church that honors the Virgin Mary as the Mother of God. It has a statue of Mary as Annai Velangkanni Arokia Matha, which means “the one who bends down to listen”. The church is also known for its colorful and intricate decorations that depict the life of Jesus and Mary.

Also Read: Temple in Ubud: A Guide to the 5 Most Sacred Sites

Spend Your Perfect Christmas in Bobocabin

If you are looking for a way to celebrate Christmas and explore the rich heritage of Indonesia, you might want to take on a religious trip to these places and experience the spirituality and beauty of these churches. And what better way to complete your pilgrimage than to spend a tranquil night in nature?

Bobocabin is a cozy and comfortable cabin that offers you a tranquil and relaxing atmosphere surrounded by the breathtaking nature. You can see fresh mountains or even warm beaches right from your Bobocabin window. You won’t have to sacrifice your comfort, because every cabin is equipped with high tech facilities such as the smart window, mood lamp, and speaker that you can control from the B-Pad.

Bobocabin has various locations across Indonesia, so you can easily find one near your destination. Whether you want to enjoy the sunrise, the sunset, the stars, or the fresh air, we’ve got you covered.

So, what are you waiting for? Book your Bobocabin now and get ready for an unforgettable Christmas adventure in Indonesia. You won’t regret it.


Article by: Syifa

Header Image: Wikipedia



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