Home to broad, tree-lined streets and beautiful historic buildings, Surakarta is a former royal capital on the Indonesian island of Java. It has long been an educational and cultural hub, with excellent museums to explore and a rich tradition of batik textile manufacturing, metal casting and pottery.
Things to do in Surakarta City
Surakarta is home to one of the oldest museums in Indonesia, the Radya Pustaka Museum, which occupies the former residence of Johannes Busselaar. In addition to 17th-century Dutch East India Company cannons, its exhibits include vintage wayang puppets, gamelans and religious sculptures. On the other side of Sriwedari Park is the Museum Keris Nusantara, which boasts a collection of around 350 traditional Indonesian daggers.
Modern and contemporary artwork is the focus of the Tumurun Private Museum, which is based on the collection of the Lukminto family, who own one of Asia’s largest textile companies. It exhibits works by both well-known masters and emerging artists from as far afield as Japan, the Philippines and the United States. A highlight is the monumental painting “Badman and Superbad” by the Indonesian-born Heri Dono.
One of Surakarta’s most important religious landmarks is the Al-Wustho Mangkunegaran Mosque, which was constructed from the late 19th century to the west of Mangkunegaran Palace. It features a tajug-style roof and an octagonal minaret, as well as a portal decorated with Arabic calligraphy. A short drive west of Surakarta is Puri Taman Saraswati, a tranquil temple that serves as a place of worship for the local Hindu population.
Getting around Surakarta City
Adisumarmo International Airport is a 25-minute drive from the centre of Surakarta and has flights to destinations across Asia and the Middle East. Regular trains connect to the Solo Balapa railway station and a network of buses travels throughout Surakarta.