"Solo or Surakarta" Top 5 Page for this destination Solo by theo1006

Solo Travel Guide: 140 reviews and 476 photos

The city with two names

Why do the names Solo and Surakarta refer to the same town?
In 1740 the Dutch East-Inda Trading Company (VOC) in Batavia (the later Jakarta) faced discontent of Chinese immigrants. which spread to the Chinese all over Java, with the ruler of Madura and the Sultan of Mataram, Pakubuwana II, taking sides. When the latter changed his allegiance from the Chinese to the Dutch, his vassals revolted and took his kraton (palace) in Kartasura.
In 1743 the VOC forced a peace treaty which restored Pakubuwana II to the throne but effectively made him a vassal of the VOC. However, his kraton in Kartasura was in ruins. After consulting soothsayers he decided to make the village of Solo, 10 km to the east of Kartasura his new residence and renamed it Surakarta. Construction of the new palace started in 1745 AD. Subsequently the village of Solo grew into the city of Surakarta. This porch within the kraton bears the year 1848 AD in Javanese script. Throughout the years the descendants of Pakubuwana II remained on friendly terms with the Dutch colonizers.
So Solo is the older and often preferred name, perhaps because it is short. The vowels 'o' in Solo should be pronounced like the 'a' in 'saw', not like the 'o' in 'sow'. Actually, in a true translitteration of Javanese script Solo should be written Sala.

City walks

The main thoroughfare is Jalan Slamet Riyadi and much more pleasant to walk than Malioboro in Yogyakarta. The sidewalk on the south side is wide and shaded, stalls and hawkers are totally lacking. There are several hotels, restaurants and banks along this road.
Here we suggest two easy city walks for seeing some museums and landmark buildings. You can do them after a visit to either the Mangkunegaran Palace or the Kraton.

From Mangkunegaran Palace, 3 km one way
After having paid a visit to the Mangkunegaran Palace one can walk 250 m south along Diponegoro street towards Slamet Riyadi street, perhaps halfway doing some shopping at Triwindu antique market.
Going westward along Slamet Riyadi street after 650 m you reach Danar Hadi batik museum.
At 200 m distance from Danar Hadi is Radya Pustaka museum (that we found closed for upgrading at our March 2014 visit).
Next you pass by Sri Wedari recreation park and stadium.
At 300 m from Radya Pustaka, opposite the stadium: the former residence of a rich merchant now boarding school MAN 2.
Back to the south side of the road, walk another 600 m to the mayor's residence, Loji Gandrung.
200 m further west from Loji Gandrung is Solo Grand Mall, in case you want to do some shopping.
When you walk 950 m further west, you find Omah Lowo on the corner. Try you arrive here shortly before nightfall (magrib) to see the bats leaving for their nightly hunting.
If by now you are hungry, there is Orient Restaurant at another 100 m westward, and then you are at half a km from Purwosari Railway station.

From the Kraton, 3 km round walk
When you exit the Kraton walk 700 north along the right hand side of road - passing the busy T-junction at the eastern end of Slamet Riyadi street. At 100 m from that crossing you have the main gate of Fort Vastenburg at your right hand.
Proceeding for 150 m, you see the colonial Bank Indonesia building at the crossing on the opposite side of the road. We saw it being prepared to reopen as a numismatic museum.
Adjacent to the bank (100 m), lies the Town Hall complex.
From the town hall return to the east side of the road, walk 150 m turning right across the bridge, and you face Pasar Gedhe (market). Here you have Tien Kok Sie temple on your right hand.
Now retrace you steps 250 m to the crossing opposite Bank Indonesia (staying on the east side of the road), for a clockwise detour around the Vastenburg fort. After having rounded two corners (700 m) you reach the house of the warden, mr Karolus Kale, in Jalan Mayor Sunaryo. He will open the compound of the fort only for those truly interested.
Opposite the warden's house admire the former Dutch school buildings under restauration.
On the same street you can have have a refreshment at the Galabo food court, then return to your starting point or go wherever else you want to go.

Getting out of town

There also are a lot of interesting things to do in the country around Solo. See our tips on Candi Sukuh, Candi Ceto and Sangiran prehistory museum, now a UNESCO heritage site.

  • Last visit to Solo: Mar 2014
  • Intro Updated Apr 27, 2014
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Reviews (23)

Comments (1)

  • aussiejen's Profile Photo
    Apr 11, 2008 at 5:29 AM

    You have some very well written tips here. We're off to Borobudur & Solo next month for the 1st time. Can't wait :)

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