Solo (Surakarta) is considered to be the epicenter of Javanese identity and tradition. One of the least westernized of Javanese cities, Solo is the spirit or essence of all that is truly Javanese. Solo is steeped in tradition and heir to the Mataran Kingdom. The city’s backstreet Kampong and elegant Kraton, traditional markets, batiks, many temples and cultural centers all lend themselves to Solo being an ambassador for Javanese tradition and culture. Solo also provides easy access to many cultural and natural wonders of Java.
Solo hotels cater to a varied market but when it comes to elegant accommodation the landmark hotel, Alila Solo would be an excellent choice. Bespoke service including much technology – driven, resort-inspired facilities ensure that guests are pampered and cocooned in luxury amidst beautiful surroundings.
Sightseeing in Solo is an enriching experience that will give visitors a true taste of Java.
The Kraton Surakarta is a memorial of a bygone era and well worth a visit in spite of its poor condition. The Sasono Sewoko museum is the main attraction for visitors and showcases an array of silver and bronze Hindu-Javanese figures, weapons, antiques, royal heirlooms and a very comprehensive horse – carriage collection. A major portion of the Kraton is off-limits and it is still the residence of the susuhunan (sultan or king). The Kraton has a distinctive tower known as the Panggung Songgo Buwono. Built in 1782 it looks like a cross between a Dutch clock tower and a light house. The upper storey is used as meditation sanctum by the sultan to commune with the Goddess of the South Seas, Nyai Loro Kidul.
The Istana Mangkunegaran is the home of the second house of Solo. The center of the palace compound is the Pendopo, a pavilion of a mixed Javanese and European architectural styles. It has a high, rounded ceiling painted in 1937 with an intricate design of a central flame surrounded by figures of the Javanese Zodiac .Each figure is painted in its own mystical colour.
The Dalem(residence ) which is the Palace Museum is behind. Many of the exhibits are from the personal collection of MangkunegaraVII. Showcased are gold plated royal dance dresses, masks and jewellery etc. Gamelan music, singing and dance –practice sessions take place at the Pavilion. Danar Hadi is a world class batik museum with a fantastic collection of antique and royal textiles from Java, China and several other places.
Among other places of interest are the Chinese Tien Kok Sie Temple, and the Solo Grand Mosque- the Masjid Agung Surakarta, the Jurug Zoo, the Taman Balekambang Park .The Sriwedari Park is home to a Javanese art and culture center and has Wayang Kulit Puppet shows and Javanese dances at night. Wayang Orang is a Javanese Theatre with stories from the Ramayana and Mahabharatha are enacted. Solo has many events year round. Pasar Triwedi is Solo’s flea market and antique hunters will find many attractive bargains.
See Solo and experience the Javanese way of life.
Nigel Walters is a travel writer, who writes under the pen name, Fritzjames Stephen. His content is based on the myriad of experiences and indulgences that the world has to offer travellers across all walks of life. Google+