"Solo or Surakarta" Solo by theo1006

Solo Travel Guide: 137 reviews and 460 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.

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.

  • Last visit to Solo: Mar 2014
  • Intro Updated Apr 11, 2014
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  • 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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