History of Surakarta

The history of Surakarta city dates back to 1745 when the King of Mataram, Pakubuwono II had to move the palace from Kartasura, due to a rebellion. Although Pakubuwono II could actually quell the rebellion, it was impossible to continue the governance from that city. A palace, therefore, was then built 20 kilometers to the east from Kartasura. It was a small village called Sala, located on the bank of a river Bengawan Sala. The King then named the area as Surakarta. The start of the governance from the new palace was on 18 February 1745 which was then decided as the date of the establishment of Surakarta city.

Surakarta is a city with a history of the most complete performing arts. In 1745, when establishing the municipality, King Pakubuwono II, assisted by Yosodipuro, composed Javanese literature and gending as core parts of the sacred rituals. The moving procession from Kartasura to Surakarta was started with Bedaya Serimpi dance, accompanied with gamelan. 

Performing arts from Solo has gained international recognition since the very beginning. When visiting Surakarta in 1866, for example, Duc de Penthiève-Orléans of Paris enjoyed the Bedaya Bayadères dance. Then in 1889, four dancers from Surakarta performed Javanese dance at the Eiffel Tower, accompanied by live gamelan music. It has given a prominent influence to music in Europe, such as Le Gamelan: Les Les Musiques Bizarres by Claude Debussy.

For the first time in 1895, performing arts which had been limited to sacred rituals and the royal family, was then open to public. Since then, performing arts has seen a dynamic and inclusive development. In 1910, a professional Wayang Wong show was first held in Surakarta, bringing classic tradition arts from the palace to the people.


More detail history from verified source here

Source: www.sastra.org

Source: www.sastra.org

Once upon a time, from the visit to Ponorogo, Sinuhun Pakubuwana II arrive in Kartasura found that his palace was heavily damaged by a Chinese army attack. Sinuhun then said, immediately prepare the right place and adequate to move the Keraton. The place was founded, named the Dusun Sala. The name “Sala” is actually the name of a local figure, which is a servant named Ki Busala. That located at the southeastern end of the palace fortress (benteng keraton) where there was still a pilfering of Ki Busala’s graveyard which is often visited by the pilgrims to do a tirakat.

Determination of the starting point of the Keraton construction is said to be done by referring to the Sinuhun elephant’s steps: wherever the elephant’s steps stop, that’s where the palace candidate’s starting point is planted.

Freed from walking from Kartasura while accompanied by the servants, Sinuhun elephants strolled eastward. When arrived at Sala, the elephant still strolled further east until it stopped and then flinched at one point. The elephant’s budding point, according to the stories of old people, was precisely at south of Loji Sriwedari, that now known as the Balekambang (as shown in the picture). In the left and right radius, it was then designated as the palace. Then the banyan tree was planted. The name of the hamlet is Kadipala, still exists today. However, soon after following a prediction stating that if it was built there, the palace was threatened not to last, then the point was then shifted further east again. That point of shift is nothing but the place of the palace today.

Concerning the condition of the Kadipala Hamlet and the elephant’s point did not budge again. Right and left then rapidly developed into a very large settlement. Here, only the land that becomes Sriwedari Park will be told.

In the Sinuhun era which is now enthroned, the Sriwedari Park land has only three parts: 

  •  On the east side and turn south: the settlement belongs to the palace. There was the great lodge which had now been converted into a museum. Classically old-fashioned, the lodge is said to have been built by Mr. Susman. Not long occupied by the Dutch, the lodge was empty long enough because it was considered very haunted. Once upon a time Kanjeng Pangeran Arya Mangkudiningrat had occupied it for several years, but after that it was empty again.
  • On the west side of the grand lodge: the house belonging to Ki Padmasusastra. While still living there, Ki Padma and his home became places of Javanese literature teaching and learning. The place was nicknamed Lamongan, taken from the name of the forerunner of its occupants: Ngabei Lamong.
  • Go west again: Mas Ngabei Karyadongsa’s house. It is a house that, as such is covered by the thickness of the bamboo bamboo bushes, is so hard to see.

Immediately after the location was designated as the King’s garden (Sriwedari), the people who settled there were ordered to move. While those appointed to realize, as well as giving the name, the park is the late Kanjeng Raden Adipati Sasradiningat alias Kanjeng Ngendrapastha.

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The Balekambang Park was originally named Partini Tuin and Partinah Bosch which was built by Kanjeng Gusti Pangeran Adipati Arya Mangkunegara VII on October 26, 1921. Because of the affection for his two daughters, Gusti Raden Ayu Partini Husein Djayaningrat and Gusti Raden Ayu Partinah Sukanta, a garden was created by capturing the names of both. Balekambang Taman combines European and Javanese concepts.

This park consists of two areas. The first area called Partini Tuin or Water Park Partini, serves as a reservoir of water to clean up dirt in the city which is also used to play boats. The second area called Partinah Bosch means the Partinah Forest planted with rare plants such as walnuts, white banyan, breech banyan, and brown apples. The function of this city park is as a recharge and lungs of the city.

At first, this park was not open to the public during the KGPAA Mangkunegara VII administration, only during the Mangkunegara KGPAA VIII era, the Balekambang Park was opened to the public. Since then, various arts have been held for the people, such as ketoprak lesung. This art is ketoprak which is accompanied by the lesung music.

In 2008 revitalization of Balekambang Park was carried out. After that, Balekambang Park began to function as an art and cultural park, botanical garden, educational park, and recreational park.

On March 17, 1757 or coincided with the 5th Legi Saturday of Jumadilawal, year Alip Windu Kuntara, Java 1638, the signing of the Salatiga Agreement between Sunan Pakubuwana III and Raden Mas Said in Salatiga was witnessed by representatives of Sultan Hamengkubuwana I and VOC. The Salatiga agreement marks the establishment of Mangkunegaran. Based on the agreement, Mangkunegara I ruled in the Kedaung, Matesih, Honggobayan, Sembuyan, Gunung Kidul regions, Pajang to the north and Kedu.

The founder of Mangkunegaran is Raden Mas Said who is the titled of  Kanjeng Gusti Pangeran Adipati Arya Mangkunegara I, the complete Kanjeng Gusti Pangeran Adipati Arya Mangkunegara Senopati Ing Ayudha Sudibyaningprang. The Mangkunegaran ruler is domiciled in Puro Mangkunegaran.

Mangkunegaran is a Kadipaten whose position is under Kasunanan and Kasultanan. In 1757 – 1946, the Kadipaten Mangkunegaran was an autonomous kingdom that had a very large area and was entitled to own its own army independent from Kasunanan.

After many centuries becoming an autonomous Kingdom, in September 1946 the Mangkunegara VIII declared to join the United State of Republic Indonesia. But the eruption of the social revolution in Surakarta in 1945-1946, has inflict in Mangkunegaran losing its sovereignty. Even so, Mangkunegara and Puro Mangkunegaran still carry out their functions as guardians of culture.

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The Surakarta Keraton is part of the history of the Giyanti agreement. The agreement was an agreement between Sunan Pakubuwana III and Pangeran Magkubumi in dispute in the Mataram Sultanate and made an agreement with the Dutch Hindu Government or the VOC so that the Mataram Sultanates in two were Surakarta and Yogyakarta.

However, since the agreement, the Surakarta Palace was not considered a substitute for the Mataram Sultanate. Although the king still has blood from the descendants of the Kingdom of Mataram. The Surakarta Keraton became a kingdom of its own. Every King from Surakarta Sunanate also received the title Sunan. Like the King in the Sultanate of Yogyakarta who got the title Sultan.

Salatiga Agreement in the History of the Keraton Surakarta (Surakarta Palace)

On February 13, 1755, the VOC went bankrupt. Then at that time the VOC persuaded Prince Mangkubumi to reconcile and unite with the VOC to fight against the rebels Raden Mas Said. Even though before that the Mangkubumi and Raden Mas Said had allied themselves.

On March 17, 1757, the Salatiga Agreement took place which caused the Surakarta Sunanate to be smaller. This happened because Raden Mas Said won and was recognized as the prince of his power as the Duchy and called the nickname of the Mangkunegara Praja.

Then the Surakarta Sunanate was even smaller because of Raden Mas Said who was the Duke of Mangkunegara. He gave his foreign area to the Netherlands as compensation for the costs of war after the Diponegoro war.

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The Great Mosque of Surakarta was built by Sunan Pakubuwono III in 1763. The mosque was completed in 1768. The mosque was both a jami mosque (mosque for Friday prayer) and royal mosque (mosque for ceremonies or rituals related with the royal). Traditionally, the mosque also served as a judiciary in matters of religious significance.

The fence was added for the mosque complex in 1858 during the reign of Sunan Pakubuwono VIII. A Mughal architecture-inspired minaret was built in 1928 during the reign of Sunan Pakubuwono XI.