Gebang Palace, the Mute Witness of Sukarno’s Youth


For the residents of Blitar City, the name Gebang Palace knit the red thread of history of Bung Karno’s big name. In this house, the traces of the youth of the Proclaimer of the Nation are engraved.

Gebang Palace is a building complex with Indhies architecture at Jalan Sultan Agung number 56,59 and 51. Precisely in Gebang Village, Sananwetan Village, Blitar City.

It is named Gebang Palace, which has been known since the 1950s, following the names of places that Bung Karno had visited. Or, contains historical values ​​related to the activities of the 1st President of the Republic of Indonesia. Like the other names Merdeka Palace, State Palace, Batitulis Palace or Bogor Palace.

The history of this historical tourist destination, refers to the book “Bung Karno, the Connector of the Indonesian People’s Tongue”. This USA edition of the book is published by The Bobbs Merrill Company Inc. NY in 1965. Then it was translated by Major Abdul Bar Salim, publisher of Mount Agung MCMLXVI and Sukarno’s book, An Autobigraphy as told to Cindy Adams.

Photo: Erliana Riady

On page 47 it is explained that Bung Karno’s father, R. Soekeni Sosrodihardjo, as a teacher, was transferred from Mojokerto to Blitar in 1917. At that time his position was as a Male Teacher Mantri (Normal Jongens School-now SMAN 1 Kota Blitar). Then on page 50 it was written, in the dry season of 1919, when Bung Karno returned to Blitar and then went to play at his friend’s house in Wlingi. The distance is about 20 KM east of Blitar City.

That’s when Mount Kelud erupted violently, thus cutting off car and train transportation routes. Bung Karno recounted “While in Surabaya, Mr. Tjokroaminoto, who was his landlady while studying in Surabaya, was very worried. He got into his car and traveled to Blitar just to find out about Soekarno’s condition.

At first he could not see me and my parents. Our house survived but the house has become a pile of lava and mud. Arriving at Jalan Sultan Agung 53, Pak Tjokro only found the house completely empty.”

“From this story, it can be concluded that the Gebang Palace began to be occupied by the Bung Karno family in 1917. Purchased from CH. Portier, this is a Dutch employee of the Railways in Blitar. Several oral sources also tell that this house was built at the same time as the construction of the Blitar Railway Station in 1884, “said Head of Tourism Area Management Department of Tourism and Culture of Blitar City, Heru Santoso to detikjatim, Saturday (29/1/2022).

When he graduated from Hoogere Burger School-SMA (HBS) in 1921, Bung Karno did live at HOS Tjokroaminoto’s house in Surabaya. Then when he studied at the Technische Hoogeschool or the Technical School-ITB in Bandung, Soekarno still often returned to Gebang Palace to ask for tuition and accommodation from his parents and brother, Soekarmini. At that time, Soekarno’s older sister was married to Raden Poegoeh, a public works official in Malang.

“In a historical context, the Gebang Palace is a place that made history. Starting from the traces of Bung Karno’s youth, the independence movement, the PETA rebellion until the end of his leadership,” he said.

In historical records, Bung Karno held a meeting with Shodanco Soeprijadi, Shodanco Muradi and Shodanco dr. Ismangil. The meeting discussed the plan for the rebellion of PETA troops on February 14, 1945. Even though the PETA Blitar leaders were finally caught, the red and white flag was raised for the first time at the rear of Raden Wijaya’s Heroes Cemetery (TMP) before dawn on that date.

According to Heru, in the contemporary context, especially since the fall of Bung Karno in 1965 and his death in 1970 until now. The Gebang Palace seems to be a witness, that the existence of Bung Karno is always kept alive in Blitar City in realizing the values ​​of his struggle.

“Here every year, here is the location of Bung Karno’s Haul and Pancasila Birthday or Grebeg Pancasila which the Blitar City Government holds nationally,” he concluded.

This article has been published in detikjatim. Check out the news from Surabaya and other East Java regions at this link.