The Kraton also spelled Keraton is the official palace of Yogjakarta. This is the place where the current Sultan Of Yogjakarta – Hamengku Buwono resides. The Sultan still retains his title even though Yogjakarta is one of the many provinces of Indonesia. The Sultan is the governor of Yogjakarta and is loved by all his subjects in this province.
Kraton is what we can call a living palace, where visitors are able to wander freely around certain areas of the buildings while the Sultan and his workers continue to live and work in these beautiful surroundings.
Kraton was built in 1790 and is said to reflect the Javanese cosmos. It is a masterpiece of Javanese architecture and was built in many stages and is most certainly unique in the fact that there is no other palace that can equal its splendor.
The layout of the palace was built in such a way that Kraton itself faces north towards the mighty Merapi mountain and to the south of the Indian Ocean where it is believed that Kanjeng Ratu Loro Kidul- the Queen of the South Seas resides. Most visitors to Yogjakarta will surely find themselves walking along Malioboro Street. This street was originally built as a ceremonial route to the palace and forms a very straight line to the palace and further onto Merapi Mountain.
For the visitor to Kraton, there are numerous attractions ranging from the daily lives of the live-in servants to the melodic Javanese chanting of ceremonial duties. The palace houses a wide variety of collections that are all safely housed in glass boxes. These collections range from ancient weapons, glassware, ceramics and a huge collection of the famous Batik and also its making process.
There are many shows to delight the visitor, those being the human puppet show, shadow puppets and even dances. Don't forget to bring your camera to these culturally awesome spectacles. For most of these performances, you will have to pay an additional charge. If you find yourself visiting the Palace on Tuesdays, then you should definitely wait around for the archery competition that is elegantly held in the ancient Mataraman style of Kemandhungan Kidul. The uniqueness of this competition is that all participants must wear traditional batik.
Getting to Kraton is very easy as the palace is in the centre of Yogjakarta and you can easily find transport. It is suggested that you use a Becak or Horse-Drawn Cart just to soak up more of this unique culture.