The Sultan's Palace
The Sultan's Palace, or Kraton, with its grand and elegant Javanese architecture, lay in the center of the city. It was founded by Pangeran Mangkubumi in 1775, whose the son, the prince, was then called Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono I. He choose the right place for the site of the building, right between Winongo River and Code Rivera swamp area that dried up then.
The Sultan's Palace stretches from north to south. The front yard of the Palace is called Alun-alun Utara (North Square) and the back yard called Alun-alun Selatan (South Square). The design of this historical building demonstrates that the Palace, the obelisk (the Tugu, the column) and Mount Merapi positioned in one line. It is believed that the axis is blessed. In the old-times, Sri Sultan is used to concentrate his mind along this axis before leading a meeting, making decision or giving order to his people.
Each part of the building has its own name. The Palace meeting hall is called Pagelaran. It is the place where formal meetings of the Kraton's officials are held. Manguntur Tangkil Hall is the place where the Sultan has his seat. This hall is in the Siti Hinggil. Siti means ground/land, while Hinggil means high. So, it is called Siti Hinggil because the place where it was built is higher than any other ground around it. It was once a tiny island on the swamp. The front gate is called Danapratopo. Two giant statues called Gupala guard it. One is called Cingkorobolo and the other is Boloupoto. The two statues are perceived may protect the Palace from any harm or evil.
The main part of the Kraton is called Purworetno, a place where the Sultan performs his duties. Beside Purworetno, there are two-story buildings called Panti Sumbaga. This building is the Sultan's private library. The building where the Sultan lives is called Gedong Kuning. Visitors of the Palace can enjoy the atmosphere of the Kraton as it was centuries ago. Wedding ceremonies and Palace meetingsoften held with puppet shows help to recreate the ancient setting. Many sets of Gamelan instruments, antiques, and heirlooms make the Sultan's Palace as one of the most interesting tourist site in Yogyakarta. The Palace is now the dwelling place of Sultan Hamengku Buwono X and his family.
Taman Sari Water Castle
Taman Sari means beautiful park. It is about ten minutes walk from the Sultan's Palace south-west ward. Sultan Hamengku Buwono I in 1757 built this park. He created a new style that was a combination and a mixture of Javanese and Portuguese architecture. Taman sari was once a beautiful and sophisticated water-park. The area around the park eastward to the city quarters called "Kampung Segaran" was once full of water. This place is now called Suryoputran. Segaran is a Javanese word means a man-made ocean or an artificial sea. Every time the Sultan visited the park, he went there by rowing a private canoe through the suspension bridge called "Kreteg Gantung" which lay in front of the Palace gate, southward or northward of Kemandungan. The remained building that was once connected by the suspension bridge can still be seen nowadays. Besides water transportation, there was also an underground passage or alley from the Sultan Palace leading to one of the park buildings which called Pasarean Ledok Sari. The castle once has a place for relaxation and entertainment as well, a unique mechanism of defence.
Because the water which flows within Taman Sari was not only to beautify the castle, but it also functioned as a secret weapon for avoiding dangers. Whenever the enemies attacked, Sultan and his family would flee away through the underground passage. When all Sultan's family was already in a safe place, the Watergate would be opened and the water would overflow the passages, so that enemy would be sunk.
One part of the place was called Pulau Kenanga because in the front yard of the building grown Kenanga trees (Canangium Odoratum). The flowers spread out the sweet fragrance through all parts of the park. The lofty buildings such as the pond were built especially for the Sultan and his family as a bath-place. Recent restoration has been done on the underground passage leading to the west area, the bulwark that is encircled the area of the Palace, and another path, which lead southward to a small village, called Krapyak.
Besides enjoying the old and ancient building, tourists can also visit many art shops and art galleries along the alleys.