The Sultan’s Palace

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This emblem is for the 9th Sultan of Yogyakarta, hence it has 9 wings. Apparently, the 9th Sultan was well liked and helped smooth things during the transition to Indonesian independence. However, the current 10th Sultan seems less popular and runs the sultanate more as a business opportunity for himself and his children. The sultan still lives in this palace, despite it being a major tourist attraction. Indonesia is promoting its history amongst school children so now everywhere seems very busy. 

There are several pavilions for gamelan orchestras but you cannot get close from in front to take photos. The music is so unique and delicate but we couldn’t stay to listen. Sadly the singers all seemed quite old so I hope they have plans to encourage younger musicians.

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The palace is made up of many separate buildings, some of Dutch style and some uniquely Javanese.

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The table (below left) was the one used to sign the Act of Independence. The guide tried to explain how you could read dates from the patterns on the snakes and other emblems around the palace; I cannot begin to explain that!

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Since the sultan lives here, there are plenty of guards around the place; they are dressed in classical Javanese style and carry a kris (dagger) in their back belt.

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We then had a look inside some of the buildings where we saw portraits and formal gifts presented to the sultans over the years. These are kept in dark dusty cupboards and are very poorly presented. Such a shame as so much more could be made of this place. We were interested in the pictures of family trees where the leaves and fruit represent the sons and daughters, respectively. In the photo below right, you can see the 8th Sultan had eight wives and many many children.

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Our final stop was the tea house. Here the gentlemen made the tea and then the women took it across the courtyard into the Sultan’s living quarters. I guess he never ever had a hot cup of tea!

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© Helen Gray 2021