Yogyakarta

On auspicious days the Kraton, the spiritual center of Yogya, transforms itself into a supreme cultural center. Young dancers attempt to perfect themselves in aristocratic court dances. Anyone who watches their slow, hypnotic dances is carried away into the fascinating realm of Javanese legends, based on stories from the great Hindu epics from India.

Sometimes you can see the puppeteers at work. They blow life in the leather wayang puppets in a simply incredible way. Occasionally a becak passes by along the web of narrow streets and whitewashed houses, away from the din of modern traffic. A bit further away you can find Jalan Malioboro. Stroll along the thousands of stalls, shops and department stores of this famous street, an experience of another kind !

Some beautiful examples of centuries-old restored temples of Indian origin are scattered around the city. The famous Borobudur is not to be missed, but there are many other smaller temples and monuments that tell the story of Java during the Indian period, before Islamization. In Kota Gede, Yogyakarta's silver district, the clatter and hammering of silversmiths compete with the traffic sounds. The nearby mausoleum for the first Sultan of Yogyakarta is a venerable place of worship. It is an oasis of silence amidst the noise of the modern age. Here lie the remains of the founding father of the first Sultanate. Its influence reached far far beyond the present day city borders.

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