Yogyakarta city guide (Introduction)

Yogyakarta City

Yogyakarta, or is also known as Jogja or Jogjakarta, is one of the cities on Java island, Indonesia. It becomes popular for its fine art, traditional culture, Yogyakarta trip attractions and also the center of education in Indonesia. The city has variety of nicknames starting from City of Students (Kota Pelajar), Cultural City (Kota Budaya), and Gudeg City (Kota Gudeg). It is now lead by Haryadi Suyuti as the government, and have 388,627 of inhabitants. Like many other countries in Indonesia, Yogyakarta is rich for religion diversity. The population are Islamic, Catholic, Protestant, Buddhist, Hindu, Confucian.

Kotagede heritage neighbourhood

Long time ago, Yogyakarta Special Region (DIY) was the capital of Indonesia during Indonesian National Revolution (1945-1949). Gedung Agung was the president’s office. In 1575-1640, Kotagede became the capital of Mataram kingdom. Nowadays Yogyakarta stands as a province with Yogyakarta city as its capital. It relies its economic on tourism, warehousing, wholesale, transportation, retail trade, communication and information sector, government administration, education, health services, and financial and insurance services. The resident are of course native Javanese, but as time goes by the other people from outside the city becoming Yogyakarta’s resident too. This is why now Yogyakarta is very rich for its cultural diversity. Some of the resident even comes from outside of the country, Indonesia.

Brief History of Yogyakarta

The history of Yogyakarta city is started from the Old Mataram Kingdom which was established during the 8th – 10th CE. This Mataram Kingdom was popular and is the center for a historical Hindu-Buddhist culture in Java. Established by the King Sanjaya, the kingdom has built many temples during three centuries, including two most famous temples, Prambanan and Borobudur.

Prambanan temple

During Majapahit era (1293-1527), Yogyakarta was once again identified as Mataram and became a province among other eleven provinces in Majapahit. It was ruled by a duke called “Bhre Mataram”.

After Majapahit collapsed, Yogyakarta stood as a sultanate and still has its unique name of Mataram. Kotagede, one of the districts now in Yogyakarta, became the capital of the sultanate. Mataram finally reached its glory and became the greatest kingdom when Sultan Agung Hanyokrokusumo occupies the throne. It expanded the influence of culture and custom to East, Central, and West Java.

Yogyakarta sultanate itself was truly formed after the Gianti Treaty. This was happened because of civil war that broke out in the sultanate. The civil was fought between Sunan Pakubuwono II which established cooperation with VOC to surrender Mataram territory to Dutch, and Prince Mangkubumi, his younger brother, who did not agree if the people of Mataram became slave under the Dutch command. Prince Mangkubumi then defeated his own brother Pakubuwono and as a result, he maintained southern part of Mataram sultanate and declared it as Yogyakarta sultanate after the Giyanti Treaty, making himself as the first Sultan Hamengkubuwono. Mataram Sultanate now divided as Yogyakarta Sultanate (Yogyakarta Special Region) and Surakarta Sultanate (Solo).

In the Republic of Indonesia (1945-now) Yogyakarta become the only province that has monarchy system in Indonesia. It was because during the invention of Japanese and Dutch, Yogyakarta gave so much support to many part of Indonesian region to maintain its capital which was attacked by the invader. It even became the capital of Indonesia since Jakarta as the capital at that time fall into Dutch hands. Sukarno, as the first president also granted the special administrative to Yogyakarta because Sultan Hamengkubuwono XI declared the support for newly born of Indonesia.

The Geography of Yogyakarta City

Tamansari Water Castle Mosque (Underground)

Yogjakarta has an area of 32.5 square kilometres. Kraton (Sultan’s palace) plays the rule as the center of the city and other areas spread around it. The north side becoming the core of modern life centered around the Kraton itself. Malioboro Street is also another thing that as famous as Kraton. In this street stands pavement vendor, Beringharjo traditional market, Fort Vrederburg, and so on, while Solo Street is another choice of shopping center that is preferably chosen by locals.

Surrounding the Kraton is the home of local people and Tamansari water castle that was used to be the royal family baths. In the far north, Mount Merapi stands as remarkable natural view. Mount Merapi or in Indonesia literally means mountain of fire, is a mountain with stratovolcano type and is still active until today. The south part is mark by Parangtritis beach which complete the drawing of imaginary line culture in Java.

Want to know more about Yogyakarta’s geographical characteristicand map? Check it on Yogyakarta map.

The Administration of Yogyakarta City

Yogyakarta Special Region or DIY has four regencies and one city as the capital. The four regencies are Kulonprogo, Sleman, Bantul, and Gunungkidul, while the capital city is Yogyakarta. It also has 14 districts that are, Mantrijeron, Kraton, Mergangsan, Umbulharjo, Gondokusuman, Danurejan, Kotagede, Pakualaman, Ngampilan, Gondomanan, Wirobrajan, Jetis, Gedong Tengen, and Tegalrejo.

Tourism in Yogyakarta City

Borobudur Temple

As it is stated before, Yogyakarta relies its income mainly on tourism. It is because Yogyakarta has two most wonderful historical building that is Prambanan as the biggest Hindu temple in Indonesia and Borobudur as the largest Buddhist temple in the world. Not only that, Yogyakarta becoming popular because of the existence of Kraton Yogyakarta that marking the only monarchy government system in Indonesia. The Kraton Yogyakarta complex itself still exists and looks well cared by the people.

Yogyakarta also has geo-heritage sites that are protected by the government such as Nglanggeran (prehistoric volcano), Kiskendo cave, Pillow lava, sand dunes in Parangtritis, Eocene limestone, bioturbation site in Kalingalang, Siung and Wediombo beach, Timang beach, Krakal beach, Pindul cave, and Kalisuci cave. The sites now become tourism, and for you who like to know more about them, see our Gunungkidul attractions. Or if you are curious of well known beaches in the city, you can see it Yogyakarta beach.

Museum can also be tourist destination. This city has many museums to be visited. Fort Vredeburg for example, is a colonial building established in Dutch colonial era, and now have becoming museum that keeping numerous memorials during Indonesia wars of independence. Jogjakarta also has other big museums such as Museum Dirgantara (air force museum), Jogja National Museum, Affandi Museum (Affandi maestro museum of painting), etc.

The Reputable Culture in Yogyakarta City

As a cultural city, Jogja has some well-known culture. The first most popular culture is Batik craft. Batik can be found in almost all areas of Jogjakarta. Then the second is silverwork that can be seen in Kotagede. Jogja is also known as the city that produces many kinds of art and artist. In traditional dance, it has a special performance of Ramayana dance that is usually delivered in Prambanan temple. Other kinds of dance may be performed in Kraton.

Chicken Satay, Culinary Yogyakarta

Not only in dance sector, it also known for the tradition of Wayang Kulit. It is a shadow puppet play using leather as its background. The performance usually accompanied by Gamelan. Gamelan is a Javanese musical instrument that is played by some people and the singer called Sinden. There is also Sekaten which is handed down from generation to generation as a traditional Javanese annual festival.

For the cuisine, Jogja city has lot of unique and original traditional food. The most famous one is Gudeg which is made from young jack fruit. Then there is Nasi Kucing (rice and side dishes with small amount) or Sego Kucing which can be found in Angkringan. Other are Bakpia (mung bean cake), Wedhang Ronde (dessert containing lemongrass tea and sweet ginger drink with rice balls), Wedhang Uwuh (hot drink made of clove leaves), and still many more.

Other Information


Known as the education city, Jogjakarta has several famous universities such as Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta State University, Indonesian Institute of Arts, Sanata Dharma University, Atma Jaya University, Islamic University of Indonesia, Duta Wacana Christian University, and Sunan Kalijaga Islamic University.


Transportation in this city is practically easy to find. People can use airplane to go to and leaving Jogja. It has famous International Airport that is Adisutjipto International Airport which serves many types of flights. And it also has Tugu Railway Station for who want to use train as the transportation. Inside the town itself, people can use public transportation such as becak, andong, taxi, buses (called as Trans Jogja or TJ) and also private transportation like motorbike and car.

Health Facilities

People usually go to Dr. Sardjito hospital (largest hospital), Bethesda hospital, Panti Rapih Hospital, and Muhammadiyah Hospital if having problem with their health.

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