Yogyakarta or Jogjakarta is pronounced “JOEG-ja-kart-a.” Locals simply call it “Jogja.” It is Indonesia’s smallest province geographically but its spirit spans the archipelago. It’s the heart of Javanese fine art, culture, dance, performing arts, and music, as well as the home to intellectuals and an important center of Indonesian higher education.
Jogya’s 300,000 plus student population attend more than 50 colleges and universities located in the city, creating a youthful, energetic, and creative atmosphere. In the evening many students gather at the many lesehan eateries that transform the cities sidewalks into hip hangouts. Bamboo mats are placed around small tables graced with candles, creating an air of romance and intimacy. All kinds of local foods are served to the rhythm of a variety of music, while friends chat, lovers bond, and tourists take it all in.
Yogyakarta is unique in all of Indonesia in that it is still ruled by the Monarchy from the colonial period of the Dutch East India Company. By special arrangement with the Indonesian government, the Sultan of Yogyakarta serves as governor of the province. The city of Yogyakarta is its capital.
Yogyakarta is Java’s most popular tourist destination for internationals and Indonesians alike. It has limitless options for hotels, restaurants, entertainment, and tours. It’s a very easy city to get around and is easily enjoyed.
A good place to begin exploring is the Sultans Palace to get a feel for the rich history of the city and to see Javanese Palace architecture at its best. Then, a stroll down Malioboro Street is an unforgettable shopping experience where fine batik, silverwork, ceramics, earthenware, locally produced hand rolled cigars, traditional medications, leather, curios, wood carvings, furniture, masks, and puppets are among the many offerings.
Yogyakarta is the easiest and best place in Java to see traditional Javanese performing arts. The Ramayana ballet, traditional orchestra (gamelan), and a variety of leather puppet performances are held on a regular basis.
Indonesia’s most visited site, the fabulous Buddhist Borobudur temple is just an hour west of the city. Borobudur is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most impressive Buddhist temples in the world – certainly not to be missed. To the northwest lie the Hindu temples at Prambanan, which are a testament to Indonesia’s Hindu heritage.
"Photos are copyrighted by their owners."