Posted by: Mark | June 22, 2008


Now that all of my final assignments have been handed in, I am once again free to travel around and photograph things. I have road trip update in the works as well once I get all the photos together. In the meantime, this:

Well, it finally happened, people. Having lived in Yogyakarta for almost a year now, I actually visited the huge, centuries-old palace complex located only 15 minutes from my house. Admittedly, this only happened because I had four hours to kill while my bike was getting serviced. While I walked the length of Malioboro, I bargained my way to purchasing a model piet onthel. I also pretended to be Spanish, and the guy who sold it to me happened to speak some Spanish, that was nice.


While I was trying to get into the kraton, I accidentally bought a ticket for this museum, so I decided to check it out. The guy at the front gate was a gamelan teacher at Flinders for a year in the 90’s. I’ve never met any Indonesian outside of academia that has heard of Flinders. By the by, we do have a gamelan, its between Social Sciences North and South, check it out.


I wandered around for about 15 seconds in this room filled with pictures of horse carriages, and then left. Not the greatest museum in history, to be sure.

I made my way to the kraton, where I happened upon lots of white people. Despite this, I bought a ticket, and went on in.


This is a tad more complete than the aforementioned Flinders gamelan.


This kraton itself seems to be filled with dozens of courtyards, each containing an open pendopo, often with a gamelan, and bordered by a number of rooms serving as museums. This is taken from one courtyard, showing the gateway to another.


Being carried around by eight other men in a swinging chair seems a little ostentatious to me, but he is a Sultan I guess.


Every white person bar me had an English-speaking guide, and I overheard one of them say that the earpieces indicate wisdom. I was fairly skeptical about this, but it wasn’t my place to say anything.


This is Javanese script. It seems weird to me that they would write nine in Roman numerals. Surely there would be a way to write the Sultan’s name in his own language. If only someone else’s guide had been around, I would have asked.


This was probably the most beautiful room I saw, most of the others were fairly plain, but I guess this one was built specifically for the museum, while the others were original used as houses and whatnot.


Though the place is a palace by function, its not that palatial, compared to others I’ve seen. A lot of the areas were closed off, I would assume because the Sultan still lives here.


Javanese architecture consists of lots of open verandas like this, used for performances, ceremonies, etc. Its nice and all, but you can only take so many photos of a slate floor with pillars.

On the way back to get my bike, I happened down a backroad in the kraton area, where some random guy hanging out his washing greeted me in Spanish. I havent met any Spanish speakers the whole time I’ve been here, and suddenly today I met two in the heart of old Javanese culture. He was a flamenco guitar teacher, and invited me into his house for tea before giving me a demonstration, which was pretty surreal. After leaving, I bought a big hunk of watermelon and ate it while walking down Jalan Malioboro. Good day, I finally checked off the kraton on my list of things to do. Huzzah!



  1. So it’s been a few weeks, how killer a flamenco guitarist are you now?

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