Kota Gede was the original site where Panembahan Senopati, founder of the new Mataram kingdom established his palace in 1575. The new Mataram kingdom claims direct descent from the ancient Mataram rulers who built the mighty Borobudur and Prambanan temples. In the year 1680, Kota Gede was ransacked by troops from Madura, and the palace of Mataram shifted east, first to Kartasura, then to its present location on the banks of the Solo river, at Surakarta (Solo).
Today, Kota Gede is a suburb of the city of Yogyakarta. The town is a maze of narrow streets, lined with tiny, traditional silversmith shops and mosaic-tiled houses, once the homes of the aristocracy and royal merchants. Kota Gede is a great place to come and take a slow wander round. For those who like to shop, come here and browse (or maybe buy) some handcrafted silver. Take in the surrounds of the quaint buildings that years ago, were the homes of wealthy Arab and Dutch merchants. Find out whether you can visit one of these houses and be transported back in time.
This precinct is now most famous as the centre of Yogya’s silver industry. There are a number of workshops where visitors can stop by and watch silversmiths at work and see the remarkable way they can transform a piece of silver into a beautiful work of art.
Yogya silver distinguishes itself by its embossment and contrasting black on white silver. The best are made of sterling silver. Kota Gede produces beautiful silver tea sets, bracelets and necklaces and fine filigree brooches.
The Royal Cemetery of Kota Gede, is a site of ancient grandeur and reflects the cultural heritage of this region. Javanese dress is required to enter the cemetery and can be hired at the registration post. As there are Mataram kings buried here this is a holy site and pilgrims from all over Java still come here to pay their respects, burn incense and ask for blessings.
Kota Gede can be easily reached by bus, taxi or car. If you prefer traditional modes of transport, try an ‘andong’ – four wheeled horse drawn cart that are common on the streets of Yogya.
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