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Sriwedari Park

Sriwedari Park is initially developed for the purpose of recreation area, entertainment, and resting place for the royal family of Surakarta Hadiningrat Sunanate. The one who conceptualized Sriwedari Park was His Majesty Pakubuwono X who reigned in 1893 to 1939. Therefore, the park was also called ‘Bon Rojo’ (derived from the term Kebon Rojo, which means the Park of King) built in 1899. Prior being used as a royal family recreation area, it was originally developed as a garden city and officially opened as special recreational area for royal family since 1901. The 10 acres land to build the park was purchased by KRMT Wirjodiningrat, sister-in-law of His Majesty Pakubuwono X, from Johannes Busselaar, a Dutchman who lived in Solo, on December 5, 1877, with the status of ownership right. After the Basic Agrarian Law applied by the Government of Indonesia since September 24, 1960, the status of ownership was reregistered but only received the status of Right to Build (HGB) 22 for newly registered in 1965.

The development of Sriwedari Park was inspired from shadow-puppet tales where there is a very beautiful paradise garden called Sriwedari. To be such a recreation park making, there planted with trees that make its atmosphere to be more comfortable and calm. Some of those trees are Casuarinas, Walnut, and Trembesi. There is a mound made of land namely punthuk or gumukan on the southeast side forms such an island and found a pond-made namely Segaran (in Javanese means sea). In the past, Segaran was very beautiful has many lotus flowers floating in the pond and fueled by various animal of birds, such as geese, ducks, and swans.

At the top of the mound is founded a stage that decorated with colorful flowers. In 1950s, the stage given the name of Panti Pangeksi is used to performing music of Kroncong. While under the stage, there is a room called Guosworo, which the name is derived from the word Guo and sworo that means "Cave of Sound" used to store royal gamelan tools, i.e. Gamelan Satiswaran. The existence of Guosworo is to ensure the gamelan will be always ready in every time needed, such as accompanying some celebration. Particularly during the reign of His Majesty Pakubuwono X, there were held big celebrations at each Sultan’s birthday.

His Majesty Pakubuwono X added some collections in Sriwedari Park with various animals such the deer placed near from comfortable pavilion building. Some of the pavilion was built with the concept of open and rise to retreat at once refreshing. In addition, in the north side of Sriwedari Park are some pens to keep some kind of wild animals, including crocodiles and turtles. Not far from that place are found other pens used to keep the wild beasts, such as tigers and leopards. On the south side, there are pens of monkeys, gibbons, and orangutans. There are also pens for elephants and various fowls, such as wild chicken and gold chicken.

In addition to enliven the atmosphere of Sriwedari Park as one of the entertainment centers, His Majesty Pakubuwono X instructed to build some building of shadow-puppet show (human theatre) around Sriwedari Park, which currently holds in almost every night. In fact, here was first established a well-known gathering “Wayang Orang Sriwedari” formed in 1911. The area of puppet show is also called People's Amusement Park (THR). In adjacent to the show house, there stands Radya Pustaka Museum built on October 28, 1980 by Kanjeng Adipati Sosrodiningrat IV, one of the court officers.

Since the reign of His Majesty Pakubuwono X, Sriwedari Park has been used to hold the tradition of Malem Selikuran, which in Javanese Language means a tradition of worship at the 21th day of Ramadan. The night that is often referred to as Lailatul Qadr, Surakarta Hadiningrat Sunanate and citizens of Solo also hold the tradition of Kirab Seribu Tumpeng starting from the platform of  Kraton heading to Sriwedari Park. A thousand of Tumpeng are paraded and contested as it was believed contain some blessing. The tradition of Malem Selikuran that has been emerged since the days of the Islamic saints and continued to the reigns of the Sultanate of Demak, Mataram, Kartasura and Surakarta Hadiningrat Sunanate is still carried out up until now. In addition, Sriwedari Park was also used to hold the National Sports Week (PON) I in 1948.

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