Yogyakarta Travel Guide

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Sunset in Bali

Sunset in Bali

Santi Kim

Yogyakarta is commonly considered the modern cultural centre of Java. Although some may profer Solo as a good runner up, Yogya remains the clear front runner for traditional dance, Wayang (traditional puppetry) and music.

The city currently hosts over thirty universities, including Indonesias first and perhaps most famous university, University Gadja Mada (UGM) along with the National Institute of the Arts (ISI) amongst others. This concentration of students and teachers provides a intellectual backdrop to a dynamic youth culture bursting with music, arts, cafes, warungs, lesehans (road side food stalls) and the odd nightclub.

Yogya was founded in 1755 and was the capital of the Mataram kings when the Dutch came along. The Dutch granted the kings the title of Sultan of the territory of Yogyakarta. Yogyakarta was also the scene of Indonesia's most successful rebellions against the Dutch - firstly with Prince Diponegoro who waged a holy war against colonial rule from 1825 to 1830, and also serving as the capital of the newly independent republic after World War II when the Dutch reoccupied Batavia (Jakarta).

Yogya has more than just culture though. It is a very lively city and a shopper's delight. The main road, Jalan Maliboro, is always crowded and famous for its night street food-culture and street vendors. Many tourist shops and cheap hotels are concentrated along this street or in the adjoining tourist area of Jl Sosrowijayan.

The key attraction of Yogyakarta is the Kraton (the Sultan's Palace). This vast complex of decaying buildings was built in the 18th century, and is actually a walled city within the city with luxurious pavilions and in which the current Sultan still resides. Yogya is also the only major city which still has traditional becak (rickshaw-style) transport. 

Yogyakarta is an excellent starting place for many day trips including to the famous temples of Borobudur, and Prambanam as well as the Dieng Plateau and Solo.

Contributors

April 12, 2006 change by giorgio

July 16, 2005 change by bigyabbie

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