Kraton Surakarta

Kraton Surakarta information

Prices
admission 15,000Rp, guide 25,000-30,000Rp
Opening hours
9am-2pm
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Once the hub of an empire, today the Kraton Surakarta is a faded memorial of a bygone era. It’s worth a visit, but much of the kraton was destroyed by fire in 1985. Many of the inner buildings were rebuilt, but today the allure of this once-majestic palace has largely vanished and its structures are left bare and unloved. The main sight for visitors is the Sasono Sewoko museum.

The poor condition of today’s kraton belies its illustrious history. In 1745 Pakubuwono II moved from Kartosuro to Solo in a day-long procession that transplanted everything belonging to the king, including the royal banyan trees – those remain magnificent – and the sacred Nyai Setomo cannon (the twin of Si Jagur in old Jakarta), which now sits in the northern palace pavilion.

Museum exhibits include an array of silver and bronze Hindu-Javanese figures, weapons, antiques and other royal heirlooms, plus the mother of all horse-carriage collections. Labelling is poor or non-existent and termites, woodworm and rot are serious issues.

A carved doorway leads to an inner courtyard, but most of the kraton is off-limits and it’s still the residence of the susuhunan (sultan). The upper storey of the Panggung Songgo Buwono, a 1782 tower that has endured the years intact, is said to be the susuhunan 's meditation sanctum where he communes with Nyai Loro Kidul (the Queen of the South Seas).

Dance practices are held on the grounds Sundays at 1pm.