Indonesia’s heart maybe Jakarta but Yogyakarta possesses its soul. Yogyakarta or “Jogja” as it is more commonly called has many universities and is a cultural center of dance and arts. It is the second most visited area by tourists in the country after Bali. It is also a district that continues to be governed by a Sultan. Who knew?
We visited the Sultan’s Kraton which is a busy palace complex where many people still live and work. Here is the bustling street as we approached the entrance.
Th sultan and his family now live in private apartments on the complex grounds.
We had a lovely local guide who showed us around. We were able to see many gifts the sultans had been given from various countries at the time of his coronation. She was quick to point out the America had not sent a gift. Hmmm… I may have to talk to Barry about that one. He studied in Jakarta and should be more clued in.
The current sultan’s father allowed the nascent Indonesian government to lead their rebellion against the Dutch from the palace grounds. He was apparently very popular. He also had four main concubines that bore him many children.
The current sultan has tried to bring the monarchy into the modern age by eliminating polygamy. His single wife bore him five children but they are all girls which apparently eliminates them from royal contention. Well baby steps is still some progress I suppose for women rights. Plus being the male heir has some drawbacks… Our guide pointed out the current sultan’s picture on the day of his circumcision at age 12!
One of the highlights of the Kraton tour was a performance of traditional Javanese dancer. There were many drums involved.
The dancers wore beautiful costumes
The children were very captivated by the performance. Maybe some day you will visit the Kraton and see a talented drummer who stands out just a bit with blue eyes.
Now that would be surprising.