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About the Palace

1.Principal Palace

The term of Palace in Javanese known as Keraton, which also referred to Kraton, Karaton, Kedhaton (derived from the term keratuan) shows the meaning of the King or Queen’s residence. Typically, Palace has special feature symbolizes the Kingdom’s identity as well as representation of government center, cultural center, and a home. It is likewise the case with Surakarta Hadiningrat Sultanate Palace built since the reign of His Majesty Pakubuwono II, precisely in 1744. The establishment of Surakarta Hadiningrat Sultanate Palace was supposed to replace Kartasura Palace who was indeed damaged as a result of the incident of Geger occurred on the previous year, precisely in 1743.

Surakarta Hadiningrat Sultanate Palace was built in the village of Sala (Solo), which there is found a small port located on the west bank of Beton River (now known as Bengawan Solo River). Under the decision to move its central government to Solo, the village’s name was then changed to the name of Surakarta. Prior to Giyanti Agreement in 1755, which stated that the Islamic Mataram kingdom is divided into two big kingdoms including the Palace located in the village was used as Surakarta Hadiningrat Sultanate Official Palace, while the other Kingdom is Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat sultanate put its central government in Yogyakarta, about 60 miles to the west of Yogyakarta.  Surakarta Hadiningrat Sultanate has many historical memories, one of which is handing over the sovereign power of Islamic Mataram Kingdom to VOC (Vereeniging Oost Compagnie), which occurred in 1799.

The Palace of Surakarta Hadiningrat Sultanate was established stretching from the north to south. The layout of Palace shows the cosmological concept in the form of concentric circle. The principal palace (Kedhaton), which is the King’s home and the most privileged area, is exactly placed on the central spot surrounded by some other buildings. The circle area of the central government is called the circle of negaragung (great country), generally means the capital.

All the Lands of Negaragung are in Kingdom’s ownership and the one that given as the salaries to the government officers is called the land of lungguh. According to their belief, Keraton Surakarta Hadiningrat Sunanate is guarded by four magical powers occupying all compass directions, which are (1) the eastern side is guarded by Sunan Lawu tua, Sunan Lawu Bagoes, and Sunan Lawu Muda, (2) the southern side is guarded by the Queen of South or famously called Nyai Roro Kidul (Kangjeng Ratu Kencanasari), Kyai Udonanggo (Kyai Widonanggo), and Kangjeng Ratu Kenconowungu, (3) the western side is guarded by Kangjeng Ratu Sekar Kedhaton from Mount Merapi, Kyai Sapoe Jagad, and Kyai Sapoe Regol, and (4) the northern side is guarded by Kangjeng Ratu Bathari Kalayuwati who lives in  Krendhawahana forest.

According Royal family of Surakarta Hadiningrat Sunanate, Palace including all buildings complex has philosophical meaning. His Majesty Pakubuwono X once said: "Karaton Surakarta Hadiningrat, haywa kongsi dinulu wujude wewangunan kewala, nanging sira padha nyumurupana sarta hanindakna maknane kang sinandi, dimen dadya tuntunan laku wajibing urip hing dunya tumekeng delahan”. It means, "Do not see Keraton Surakarta Hadiningrat Sunanate from its form or shape only, but it should be known and understood as well as carried out the meaning of the messages either implicit or explicit in order to be guidance in performing all obligations of life in world or here after".

The one who had great contribution is Prince Mangkubumi who was an architect of Surakarta Palace who then ruled in Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat Sultanate entitled His Majesty Hamengkubuwono I. Therefore, no wonder if the pattern layouts of Surakarta Hadiningrat Palace and Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat Palace have much in common. The building of the principal Palace of Surakarta Hadiningrat Sunanate is predominantly white and blue with a mixture of architectural style of Javanese and European charm. The construction process of Surakarta Hadiningrat Palace was finished gradually while maintaining its earlier pattern policies. This Palace had experienced some restoration and renovation, one of which in the era of His Majesty Pakubuwono X (1893-1939). The complex of Surakarta Hadiningrat Palace consists of the principal palace that including the gates, squares, mosques, markets, and others.

a.Northern Square (Alun-Alun Lor)

Northern Square is such the front page located exactly in the front of the Palace of Surakarta Hadiningrat Sunanate. There are planted some banyan trees around the edge of the square. Similarly with Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat Palace, there are two banyan trees on its center. Its difference is those two banyan trees located in the middle of Square are given a protective fence so it is called Waringin Sengkeran (the confined banyan trees), while the trees located on the edge of Square are not given a protective fence. There is also found a place called Gladhag formerly used to keep the animals caught from forest. There is also a place used to hold the events or ceremonies that involves all Surakarta people including the King, such a place where the people will be able to see the King. So, the one who want to complain or request his matters to the King, he should wait at northern square which is located right in front of the palace complex.

Northern Square is also used to hold other events, such as diverse crowd arrangements, battle training, sport game, and others. Previously, there was used as battlefield by riding horse soldiers armed with spears on every Saturday. This exercise was accompanied by the sound of gamelan called Gamelan Setu. There was also used to hold an arena of rampongan, a training skill using spear against a tiger. In addition, it was where the execution of the death penalty for person who found guilty in the court held for public. After the death sentence performed, the remains body is placed on the north side of Waringin Sengkeran as the warning for public to see and to not follow after him.

Northern Square is surrounding by some buildings that every building has its own special feature and function, which are:

  • In the west, north, and east are found some buildings called Pakapalan, which derived from kapal, means horse. It is used as a place to tie up the horses belongs to Abdi dalem (Royal officials) from various regions who will face the King on special holy days.
  • In the southeast of Northern Square stands Bangsal Patalon (Patalon Hall) serves as a place where Gamelan Setu played to accompany the military exercises held on every Saturday.
  • In the center of Northern Square stand two banyan trees confined in fence known as Waringin Sengkeran. The tree located on the west side called Dewandaru means supremacy while the one located in the east called Jayandaru means victory. Both trees are brought from Kraton Kartasura Square that previously became the centre of the government of Islamic Mataram Kingdom before being transferred to Surakarta. The place exactly around Sengkeran Waringin where for people who are not satisfied with the rule perform sunbathing or known as the ritual of laku pepe by sitting under the tree wearing white clothes and apply to the generosity of the King to meet him.
  • In the west of Northern Square stands the Great Mosque of Surakarta, which is used as a center of Islamic learning and religious events of Surakarta Hadiningrat Sunanate. Previously, there was Bangsal Paretan (Paretan Hall) on the west and east side served as a place to store car (chariot) to the King and the prince at the time called the honor ceremonies.
  • In the southern of Northern Square previously are found three cannons placed on the rows from west to east. The names of those cannons are Kyai Pancawara, Kyai Swuhbrasta, dan Kyai Sagarawana. However, those three cannons were not used as weapons of war but only sounded when there are important events came, such as general arrival, the queens giving birth, and when holding the event of Pesowanan Agung. Those cannon were moved to the east side of Sasana Sumewa. In the southern of Northern Square is also planted couple banyan trees called Waringin Gung (the big and high tree) and Waringin Binatur (the low and poor tree). 
  • In the northern of Northern Square stand a couple of banyan trees that each called Jenggot (male) and Wok (female). In this area also stands the monument to commemorate the 200th year founding of Surakarta Hadiningrat Palace.
  • In the southwest and northeast of Northern Square stands two gates, which called Slompretan and Batangan, that were only open on Wednesday Pahing, month of Suro, 1870, or on March 8, 1939 AD.

b.Sasana Sumewa

Sasana Sumewa is a large hall located at the edge of street in the south side of Northern Square, which also serves as the main building of Palace complex. Previously, this hall was used by Punggawa (high-class royal officers) at the time of government's official ceremonies to meet the King. In addition, this facing north large hall is used as waiting room for guests who want to meet the King. This function can be seen from the name itself that consists of the words of Sasana (place) and Sumewa (meet). Sasana Sumewa was built in 1843 AH or 1913 AD and completed in 1844 AH. Initially, the floor of Sasana Sumewa was made of soil, sand, and its roof is made of bamboo. In addition, this place is also called Tratag as well as called Pagelaran that means "a place for King to announce his commands regarding to the royal matters”. There are some artillery found in this complex such as the cannons named Kyai Pancawura and Kyai Sapu Jagad, which both made in the reign of Sultan Agung (1613-1645).

In the center of Sasana Sumewa, there is small hall called Bangsal Pangrawit that derived from the words Bangsal (ward) and Pangrawit (treating or beautifying). This Kartasura legacy hall serves as sitting or standing place for King during the office appointments or when giving an order to his subordinates. On the right side of Sasana Sumewa, there is found Pacekotan Ward used by some people who will meet the King to be awarded. However, Pacekotan Ward is usually used as a rest place for Abdi dalem who in charge of security in front of Palace. While the left side of Sasana Sumewa, there is found Pacikeran Ward that serves as a place for people who will be sentenced. 

c.North Siti Hinggil (Siti Hinggil Lor)

The word of Siti means land or place, hinggil means high, and Lor means north. Therefore, the term of Siti Hinggil Lor means a building complex built on a higher land located in the south side of Sasana Sumewa surrounded with stone fence and iron door. The complex has two gates, Kori Wijil on south side and Kori Renteng on north side. There is stone called Cello Pamecat located in front of Kori Wijil, precisely on the northern step of the complex that used to be a place of beheading people who have been convicted and sentenced to death by the court. In addition, there are also eight cannons placed in rows from west to east and the names of each gun are Kyai Brising, Kyai Bagus, Kyai Nakula, Kyai Kumbarawa, Kyai Kumbarawi, Kyai Sadewa, Kyai Alus, and Kyai Kadhalbutung or Mahesa Kumali or Pamecut.

The main building in this complex is called Sasana Sewayana used by high royal officials in attending royal ceremonies. The other buildings are called Tangkil Manguntur Ward and Witono Ward. Especially in the middle of Witono Ward, there is small building called Krobongan Bale Manguneng used to store one of Royal estates called Kangjeng Nyai Setomi, a cannon which purportedly seized by Mataram soldiers from the Dutch attacking into Batavia. The presence of Kangjeng Nyai Setomi is trusted to provide the safety and could moving the spirit and happiness in the soul without leaving modesty and manners.

Inside the Ward of Manguntur Tangkilthere is found a seat for King used on special events, such as Grebeg Mulud on 12th day of Rabi'al Awal, Grebeg Puasa on the 1st day of Shawwal, and Grebeg Besar on the 10th day of Zulhijah. Literally, Bangsal Manguntur Tangkil means "a hall located in the great Siti Hinggil". There are also some seats used on Grebeg ceremony for Putra Kencana and especially for Abdi dalem who have high rankWhile outside the complex (east, south and west) is Public Street called St. Supit Urang. The other halls located on the east side of complex North Siti Hinggil from the south row are:

  • Bangsal Angun-angun is usually used as a place for pacaosan Abdi Dalem Sarageni Kiwa-tengen.
  • Bangsal Tengen Gandhek is used when playing gamelan Kodhok Ngorek, but is used as a place for pacaosan Abdi Dalem Gandhek Tengen in normal days.
  • Bale Bang is building used to store the gamelan tool of Kodhok Ngorek.
  • Gandhek Kiwa is a place for preparing royal party, but it will be used as a place for pacaosan Abdi Dalem Gandhek Kiwa in normal days.
  • Bangsal Mertalulut is previously became a place for Abdi Dalem Mertalulut who in charge of giving present so someone who has great contribution and it is located on the east stair of Siti Hinggil Lor. At present, this place is occupied by Abdi Dalem Meriam Kyai Pancawara.
  • Bangsal Singanegara is located on the west side of stair of Siti Hinggil Lor, previously used as a place for Abdi Dalem Singanegara to apply the court decisions. Now, this place is used to store the cannon called Segarawana Kyai.

d.North Kemandhungan (Kemandungan Lor)

Other part of Keraton Surakarta Hadiningrat Sunanate is the building called Kemandhungan Lor (North Kemandhungan). Before entering the building of North Kemandhungan, there is a gate called Kori Brajanala or Kori Gapit. There are two wards on outside the gate dedicated to Abdi Dalem Brajanala Kiwa and Abdi Dalem Brajanala who in charge as the outside guards. While on the inside, there are two wards dedicated to Abdi Dalem Wisamarta Kiwa and Abdi Dalem Wisamarta Tengen as the inside guards. Brajanala Kori is a major access road from the north into the page of North Kemandhungan once passing through Cepuri Gate. It is the term refers to the main complex surrounded by protective wall called Baluwarti, which connecting St. Supit Urang to the front page of Palace. Cepuri Gate was built during the reign of His Majesty Pakubuwono III using a pattern of Tinandu Semar. There is Wisomarto Ward around the gate that serves as the guard post on the left and right side (west and east) and one tower bell located at the eastern gate.

North Kemandhungan is the first layer of complex formulation in Surakarta Hadiningrat Sunanate Palace or often referred to as Daerah Dalem Baluwarti Karaton Surakarta. As mentioned before, Baluwarti is a wall that fortified the main Palace made of high hard rock with 2 meters thick. It had been damaged and rebuilt with brick lasted until now. Besides Kori Brajanala, there are also three other gates on the north. While on the south, there is one gate called and equipped with the Ward for Abdi Dalem Nyutra and Abdi Dalem Mangunudara. Whereas on the east and west, respectively called Kori Batulan Wetan and Kori Batulan Kulon. In the middle complex of North Kemandhungan is a blank page where the building appears is at the edge of page only. Seeing from this page, there is a magnificent tower known as Panggung Sangga Buwana located in the next complex, Sri Manganti.

e.Sri Manganti

Sri Manganti is the next layer after North Kemandhungan, which to enter into this complex from the north is by going through the gate called Kori Kemandhungan. On the left and right sides of this blue and white nuance gate, there are two statues and a large mirror decorated with the weapons and the flag with the emblem Surakarta Hadiningrat Sunanate. The complex of Sri Manganti that was built in 1718 or 1742 AD is provided as a waiting area for guests who will appear before the King. The complex is also equipped with gatehouse on the outside and the one called pacaosan Nyai Regol on the inside, which occupied by Abdi Dalem Keparak.

Inside the complex of Sri Manganti found two main buildings, which are Smarakatha Ward on the west and Marcukundha Ward on the east (both are built on April 4, 1814). Previously, Smarakatha Ward was used as the room to promote the senior royal officers and as waiting area for the high royal officers (with the rank of Major Lebet). However, now it is used as a place to dance training and musical performance training. While Marcukundha Ward was used as waiting area for the soldiers as well as a place to pass verdicts punishment for royal family who was proven guilty and for the inauguration and promoting the low royal officers. Today, it is used as storing place for Krobongan Madirenggo used on the ritual of circumcision of the sons of sovereign. In the complex Sri Manganti, precisely in the southwest side of Marcukundha Ward, there is an octagon shaped tower called Panggung Sangga Buwana that means “stage holding the earth". This rather high tower is actually located in two places at once, precisely in the courtyard of Sri Manganti and in the page of Kedhaton.

f.Kedhaton

Kedhaton is the principal area of Surakarta Hadiningrat Palace where its entrance through the north gate called Kori Ageng or Kori Sri Manganti, an appropriate name regarding to the previous complex, Sri Manganti, and it was built in the reign of His Majesty Pakubuwono IV, precisely in 1792 AD. Philosophically, Kori Sri Manganti has a bond with Panggung Sangga Buwana from its style of Tinandu Semar and used as a waiting area for official government guests. At the right and left gatethere is a pair of mirrors, while at the top was specially decorated in Surakarta Hadiningrat Sunanate style. The courtyard of Kedathon is covered with black sand brought from the South Coast (Indian Ocean) and planted with various rare trees, one of which is Sawo Kecik (Manilkara Kauki) amounted in 76 trees. There is also added with some statues in European style make its atmosphere to be livelier.

The complex Kedhaton contains some buildings, which include Sasana SewakanDalem Ageng Prabasuyasa, Sasana Handrawina, and Panggung Sangga BuwanaSewaka Sasana is the legacy of Kartasura Palace that caught a fire in 1985. The Majesty is sitting in Sewaka Sasana during great ceremonies held by the Palace, such as Grebeg and King’s birthday. On the west side of Sasana Sewaka, there stand Sasana Parasdya and nDalem Prabasuyasa Ageng. The building of nDalem Prabasuyasa Ageng is the core and most important building in Surakarta Hadiningrat Sunanate. At this place lie heirlooms and royal throne as a symbol of the Palace. There, the King takes an oath prior to the coronation ceremony.

The next building is Sasana Handrawina used as an official banquet in Palace. Currently, it is often used either for seminar or also used as “gala dinner treating the guests who come from abroad to visit Surakarta. Other major buildings located in complex Kedathon is the building called Panggung Sangga Buwana, a tower that was used as King’s meditation as well as monitoring the Dutch fort which located near to the Palace. The tower measured 35 m height and 6 m of diameter has five floors that usually used to see the position of moon in determining the early month. At the top of tower, a symbol shows the year of construction of Surakarta Hadiningrat Palace. There is written ‘Naga Muluk Tinitihan Janma’, means ‘1708’ (Naga: 8, Muluk: 0, Tinitihan: 7, Janma: 1). Panggung Sangga Buwana was caught in fire on November 19, 1954, so it being renovated and completed on May 15, 1978. 

The last building located in complex Kedhaton is a private closed place and forbidden to be published, so as not many actually know what is in it. The area is prohibited, as it is the official residence of the King and royal family in Surakarta Hadiningrat Sunanate.

g.Kemagangan

The complex located in the background of Kedhaton becomes the essence of Kraton known as Kemagangan or Magangan. As the name suggests, Kemagangan was used for recruitment, training, and visiting place for the candidates who will be accepted as Abdi Dalem. There are found a porch in the middle of page once used as the training place of candidates and some building used as the storage of warrior attributes, such as Kris, sword, rifle, pistol, and the soldier’s uniforms wore on the holy days of Palace. At the middle of Kemagangan, found a place to store the cannon that only sounded on special days, while in the south side of the cannon storage building is the yard in which the left and right side are the soldiers’ offices, and some other buildings. In addition, there is ward in the middle of porch used for the procession of pisowanan abdi dalem keputren (female). Now, the complex Kemangangan is often used for cultural events and discussions.

h.South Kemandhungan (Kemandungan Kidul)

The next complex once gets out from the area of Kemagangan through the gate Gadungmlathi Kori, which also known as Saleko or Sembagi is Kemandhungan Kidul (South Kemandhungan). The term Gadungmlathi symbolizes the relation between Kraton with the queen of the South Sea ruler (Nyai Roro Kidul), while the term Saleko means "association with Sang Hyang Tunggal (One God)", and the term sembagi means "united all the colors into white". In the south side of Kori Gadungmlathi found a gate South Kemandhungan Kori, which becomes the entrance (backdoor) of Kraton. The gate is adorned with decorative device loaded meanings, one of which is chained jasmine means the purity. Here around the gate is also found a public yard. In addition, the complex could also be used at the time of Kings and Queens’s funeral procession. After passing the gate South Kori Kemandhungan, the next gate is south Brajanala Kori, while on the left and right sides of South Brajanala Kori, there are Nyutra Ward and Mangundara Ward. The next is found the ways of East Supit Urang and West Supit Urang connecting South Kemandhungan with South Siti Hinggil.

i.South Siti Hinggil (Siti Hinggil Kidul)

The access towards Siti Hinggil Kidul (South Siti Hinggil) is through the gate South Kori Brajanala. The area of South Siti Hinggil is the complex of porches surrounded by short iron fence. The building was founded in 1721. Allegedly, there are four cannons where two of them operated by the government of the Republic of Indonesia and kept at the Academy of National Military (AMN) Magelang, Central Java. Unlike the complex of South Siti Hinggil that has magnificent impression, South Siti Hinggil and some other buildings in the south of Palace are more moderate. This difference was not without reason, but it is related to Javanese philosophy of “Donya Sungsang Walik”. In other word, the buildings on the north side that look magnificent symbolize lust and carnal desires inside the human being, while the moderate buildings in the south side represent a religious way, which a man unites with the God and should leave desires things in the world. That is, people should be focused and oriented only to God, Sang Hyang Tunggal.

j.Southern Square (Alun-alun Kidul)

Alun-Alun Kidul (South Square) located in the southern of South Siti Hinggil can be referred as the backyard of Palace. The area of an open space is more personal than Northern Square. The south square was used as entertainment facilities for royal family and military training. In similar with the northern square, the southern square has also a pair of twin banyan tree located in the middle of it. Those trees are protected by wall and therefore, the two-banyan trees are called Waringin Kurung Sakembaran (Waringin: Banyan tree, Kurung: protected, Sakembaran: twin). The southern square is surrounded by high fortress walls and surrounded by some houses of royal nobles. In addition, there in square are also found a group of people who are looking for their livelihood, such as by selling food or others.

The fortress surrounding the southern square has one gate in the middle of the southern end, which known as Gapura Gading. In the reign of His Majesty Pakubuwono X, precisely in 1932, added two more gates to the south side of Gapura Gading, which has a similarity with the gateway of Southern Square from the west and east. The last gate added by His Majesty Pakubuwono X is commonly known as Gapura Gading. These three gates located in Southern square are called Tri Gapurendro

Around the southern square is also found elephant enclosure to care the elephants belong to the Palace. The King is taking care of the animals like elephants that become the symbol of greatness. There is also small building used for keeping other ancestral animals of Palace, such as Kebo bule (albino buffalo) that is named Kyai Slamet.

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hengki atmadji January 15, 2012 22:03

Akan lebih baik lagi kalau disertai dengan gambar denah kraton 3 dimensi....