Yogyakarta often also called Yogya, Jogja, Jogjakarta) is known as Neverending Asia for its endless attractions and appeal. As one of Indonesia’s 34 provinces, this city is one of the foremost cultural centers of Indonesia. Many say that a single visit to Jogja is never enough.The list of things you can experience in Jogja may seem overwhelming, ranging from natural splendors, art and tradition and heritages to culinary adventure. This is why Jogja is the second most visited destination in Indonesia, next to Bali.
A thousand years ago, Yogyakarta was the center of ancient Mataram Kingdom which was prosperous and high civilized. This kingdom built Borobudur Temple which was the biggest Buddhist temple in the world, 300 years before Angkor Wat in Cambodia.The ancient city of Yogyakarta has emerged as the most important city in the field of culture, education, and tourism in the country. Various art events such as exhibitions and performances as well as cultural dialogue and exchange have been taken place in the city in high frequency. Conducive social and cultural atmosphere is the reason for many to study and grow in the city and to communicate their works to public in Yogyakarta. The city is the home for the arts and artists, students, and intellectuals.
However, by some mysterious reason, ancient Mataram Kingdom moved its central government to East Java in the 10th century. The magnificent temples were abandoned and partially buried by the eruption material of Merapi Volcano. Slowly, Yogyakarta region went back into the dense forest.
Six hundred years later, Panembahan Senopati established the Islamic Mataram Kingdom in the region. Once again, Yogyakarta became the witness of human history of a great Kingdom that ruled Java Island and its surrounding area. Islamic Mataram Kingdom was leaving a trail of ruins of fortress and royal tombs in Kotagede which recently is known as silver handicraft center in Yogyakarta.
Giyanti agreement in 1755 divided the Islamic Mataram Kingdom into Kasunanan Surakarta be based in the city of Solo and Yogyakarta Sultanate which founded in Yogyakarta. Kraton (Sultan’s palace) still exists until today and is functioned as the residence of Sultan and his family as well as hundreds of abdidalem (the servant of the palace) who faithfully serve the palace voluntarily and run the tradition in the midst of changing times. At the palace, there are many cultural performances such as wayangkulit (puppet shadow play), gamelan (Javanese orchestra), and Javanese dance etc.
After the independence of the Republic of Indonesia was proclaimed, Yogyakarta Special Region and was given provincial status in 1950 in recognition of its important role in the fight for Independence. The area is now a self-governing district answerable directly to Jakarta and not to the governor of Central Java.
Yogyakarta at present is a place where tradition and modern dynamics are going on together continuously. In this city, there is a palace which has hundreds of loyal servants to run the tradition, but there is also UniversitasGadjahMada that is one of the leading universities in South East Asia. Almost a hundred universities and colleges are also built in Yogyakarta.Some of its residents live in a strong agrarian culture and a very Javanese way.On the other side, there are also students who live with pop life-style. At the same time, it is the melting pot of different Indonesian cultures.
Tugu Monument: The Landmark of Yogyakarta
Tugu monument, the landmark of Yogyakarta, is located right in the center of the crossroad between Jl. Mangkubumi, Jl. Soedirman, Jl. A.M. Sangaji, and Jl. Diponegeoro. The monument has been there for almost 3 centuries old and has a very deep meaning for Yogyakarta.
The monument was built around a year after the construction of Yogyakarta Kingdom. In the beginning of its construction, it described the philosophy of the unity of God’s creatures, meaning the spirit of togetherness of lay people and authorities to fight colonials. In Javanese term, the spirit of togetherness is called golonggilig that is depicted from the construction of the monument: the pole was of cylindrical (gilig) form and the top part was rounded (golong). The preliminary height of the monument was 25 meters. Everything changed when on June 10th, 1867, a big earthquake in Yogyakarta ruined the monument. The collapse of the monument was the transition time when the unity was not really reflected on the monument.
The situation changed totally when in 1889, the Dutch government renovated the monument. It was actually the tactic used by the Dutch to erase the philosophy of togetherness between lay people and the king. However, the effort did not seem to be successful. The monument was constructed as a square with each side being decorated with a kind of inscription containing the names of people who were involved in the renovation. The top portion is no longer rounded but a pointed cone. The height of the monument is also lower, namely 15 meters. Since then, this monument was also called as De Witt Paal or Tugu Pal Putih (white pole monument).
Yogya is warm and humid. Its annual average temperature is 27° Celsius (65° Fahrenheit); the warmest is 35° Celsius (95° Fahrenheit) while the coolest is 18° Celsius (65° Fahrenheit). Humidity is in the range of 75%, so it is a humid place.June, July and August are when it is coolest to visit, while April and December are the warmest.