Home Central Java Surakarta
Surakarta (its formal name; locally it is referred to as Solo) is an Indonesian city of approximately 500,000 people located in Central Java. It is some 65 km (40 miles) northeast of Yogyakarta, and 100 km (60 miles) southeast of Semarang. The city was a center of power during the 18th century Mataram Sultanate.
Surakarta or more famous as Solo is lying across in fertile plain terrain along the longest river in Java, Bengawan or River Solo. Flanked by mountain volcanoes Merapi and Merbabu in the north, and mount Lawu in the southeast border, is famous as a stronghold and center of Javanese culture and tradition.
The local inhabitants are more familiar with and use the name of "Solo" or "Sala" for the city, rather than "Surakarta". "Surakarta" is however used in formal and official contexts. The city has similar name with neighboring district of "Kartasura", which the preceded capital of Mataram located.
The eastern part of the town is bordered by Bengawan Solo River, the longest river on Java. The river is the inspiration for the song Bengawan Solo, a 1940s composition by Gesang Martohartono which became famous throughout much of Asia.
The royal head of Surakarta has the title Susuhunan.
Surakarta is divided into 5 subdistricts (kecamatan): Banjarsari, Jebres, Laweyan, Pasar Kliwon, and Serengan.
There are 2 major markets in the city, namely Pasar Klewer and Pasar Gede. Pasar Klewer is famous as the biggest textile market in the region.
Although people in Central Java use the same language named boso Jowo (Javanese), they have special characteristics which differentiate them from which region they come. For example, for the word "cold" (dingin in Indonesian, especially for weather), people in Surakarta use the word adem, but people in Semarang use the word atis. The Javanese language of Surakarta and Yogyakarta is well known as the standard for all Javanese speakers throughout the nation.
Some of the local foods include Nasi Liwet, Nasi Timlo, and Serabi.
The tranquil town of Solo with its charming and soft-spoken people has several amazing names as a sign of adoration, such as: the city that never sleeps, the center of culture and the city of pleasure. Some foreign travelers say that Solo is the least westernized town in Central Java.
Jamu (Herbal Medicine) and Traditional Cosmetics
The Solonese is expert of jamu since ancient period. In the old days, the herb leaves were boiled in water before being drunk that's why the name is jamu godog (boiled herbal medicine).
Nowadays, it is more practical, there are powder, pills and capsules. There are also some lotion and ointment for outside application.
Memory of The Old Time
The history of Solo is unseparable with ancient time, with the discovery of 'Java man' in the village of Sangiran in Sragen Regency, Hindu – Buddhist Temples and the existence of old Palaces of Javanese Sultans.
In the down town of the city, along the wide green Slamet Riyadi Avenue, at the cross road of Sudirman, turn south cross the Alun-alun Utara (North Square), That is the Karaton Surakarta Hadiningrat, with the present king Sri Susuhunan Paku Buwono XII. It is opened daily at 08.30 am – 02.00 pm, Friday is closed.
In the middle of the town in the North of Slamet Riyadi Avenue is another palace, Puro Mangkunagaran. The present king is Sri Mangkunagoro IX. It is opened daily at 09.00 am – 02.00 pm, Sunday 09.00 am – 01.00 pm.
Both palaces have their own excellent programs to be adored by tourists, among other; court dance, gamelan music performance, museums, etc.
The New City
The main avenue is Jl. Slamet Riyadi, in the center of the city is the favorite thoroughfare of Solo. Many hotels, restaurants and offices are located along and around this avenue.
A new modern city was born in Solo, it is Solo Baru, located southward of the city, in the regency of Sukoharjo, on the way to Wonogiri. It is a modern real estate compound complete with the necessary facilities, comfortable to live in.
A leisure walk along Jl. Secoyudan, the 'Gold Smith Street' could be entertaining. The sound of Gamelan music from recorded cassette tapes could be enjoyed. A popular local music of Solo is the 'Kroncong' beat. Besides the specific beat, the words of the songs are important. The kroncong songs usually adore the natural beauty and the rare beauty of the Solo ladies like in the song of 'Putri Solo' - The Lady of Solo'.