Infobox City
official_name = Surakarta
native_name =
nickname = Solo
motto =

imagesize =
image_caption =


image_shield =

mapsize =
map_caption = Location of Surakarta in Indonesia

subdivision_type = Country
subdivision_name = Indonesia
subdivision_type1 = Province
subdivision_name1 = Central Java
subdivision_type2 =
subdivision_name2 =
government_type =
leader_title = Mayor
leader_name = Joko Widodo
leader_title1 = Vice-mayor
leader_name1 = F.X. Hadi Rudyatmo
leader_title2 =
leader_name2 =
leader_title3 =
leader_name3 =
established_title =
established_date =
established_title2 =
established_date2 =
established_title3 =
established_date3 =
area_magnitude =
area_total_km2 = 44.03
area_total_sq_mi =
area_land_km2 =
area_land_sq_mi =
area_water_km2 =
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area_water_percent =
area_urban_km2 =
area_urban_sq_mi =
area_metro_km2 =
area_metro_sq_mi =
population_as_of = 2004
population_note =
population_total = 572345
population_density_km2 = 12998.97
population_density_sq_mi =
population_metro =
population_density_metro_km2 =
population_density_metro_sq_mi =
population_urban =
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timezone = WIB
utc_offset = +7
timezone_DST =
utc_offset_DST =
latd=7 |latm=34 |lats=0 |latNS=S
longd=110 |longm=49 |longs=0 |longEW=E
elevation_m =
elevation_ft =
postal_code_type =
postal_code =
area_code =0271
website = []
footnotes =

Surakarta (colloquially Solo) is an Indonesian city of approximately 500,000 people located in Central Java.


Surakarta is also known by the name "Solo". "Surakarta" is used in formal and official contexts. The city has a similar name with the neighboring district of "Kartasura", where the previous capital of Mataram was located. Variant spelling of Surkarata is found as Soerakarta - and is simply the old spelling prior to the pre 1970s' spelling change.


It is approximately 65 km (40 miles) northeast of Yogyakarta, and 100 km (60 miles) southeast of SemarangThe eastern part of the town is bordered by Bengawan Solo River, the longest river on Java. The river is the inspiration for the song "Bengawan Solo", a 1940s composition by Gesang Martohartono which became famous throughout much of Asia.


In the current Indonesian context Surakarta is a city within the province of Central Java. Previous to the Indonesian nation being formed it was one of two areas ruled by local leaders.

During Dutch occupation, the two areas were known as the "Vorstenland" - the Yogyakarta and Surakarta principalities. Rivalry between the two has been endemic since their founding in the 1700s and was a deliberate ploy by the Dutch colonial powers to distract the attention from the presence of the Dutch colonial power.

The ruler of the main court within the city is known as the Susuhunan.


Surakarta is divided into 5 subdistricts ("kecamatan"): Banjarsari, Jebres, Laweyan, Pasar Kliwon, and Serengan.


There are 2 major markets in the city, namely Pasar Klewer and Pasar Gede.Pasar Klewer is famous as the biggest textile market in the region.


Its ruling family lay claim to being the heirs to the Mataram dynasty. Like Yogyakarta, Solo has two royal palaces.

Founding The Dynasty

A series of wars and clashes between the Adipati (dukes) followed the death of the last Sultan of Demak Bintoro, the first Islamic kingdom in Java. One of the prominent powerful dukes was Jaka Tingkir, son-in-law of the late sultan. After defeating the last opponent duke of Jipang-Panola, Jaka Tingkir aka. Sultan Hadiwijaya claimed the throne and moved the capital to the city of Pajang, located about 8 miles from the present-day Surakarta. His adopted son, Sutawijaya, formed a conspiracy and killed him with the favour of an assassin. Then, he ascended the throne and once again, moved the capital to Mataram in the present-day province of Jogjakarta, and a new dynasty was founded. It was such an irony to find out that Sutawijaya was the man of the battle which fought against the duke of Jipang-Panola and killed the duke, gained the victory for Pajang.

Pakubuwono II

Up until 1744, Solo was little more than a quiet backwater village, 10km east of Kartasura, the contemporary capital of the Mataram kingdom. But in that year the Mataram susuhunan (king), Pakubuwono II, backed the Chinese against the Dutch, and the court at Kartasura was sacked as a result. Pakubuwono II searched for a more auspicious spot to rebuild his capital, and in 1745 the entire court was dismantled and transported in a great procession to Surakarta, on the banks of the Kali (River) Solo. It was said that the place he chose to be the new palace was sited on a small lake. It was also said by the "babad" or official record of court historians that the lake was drained by the favor of the mythical queen of the southern sea, Nyi Roro Kidul.

However, the decline continued, and in 1757, after the kingdom of Mataram was divided into the Surakarta Sunanate (northern court) and the Jogjakarta Sultanate (southern court), another rival royal house of Mangkunegoro was established by Raden Mas Said aka. Pangeran Samber Nyowo (The Slayer Prince) right in the centre of Solo. It marked the success of Dutch policies in East Indies, which were known as "divide et impera" (divide and conquer). Mataram held so much influence in Java, yet it remained nothing more than falling under the Dutch's hands.Thereafter, Solo's royal houses wisely avoided fighting and instead threw their energies into the arts, developing a highly sophisticated and graceful court culture. The gamelan pavilions became the new theatres of war, with each city competing to produce the more refined court culture. Wayang Kulit and Wayang Wong are some theatrical arts still performed today.

Pakubuwono X

Perhaps the most significant ruler of the twentieth century, was Pakubuwono X. His relationship with the Dutch, and his large family, and his popularity contributed to perhaps the largest funeral procession that ever occurred in Solo. He had contributed large expenditure on the Royal Graveyard at Imogiri in the main sections of the graveyard, as well as towards the new section that he was buried in. In the era just prior to independence Surakarta had European, Chinese and Arab quarters.

truggle for Independence

After hearing the proclamation of Indonesian Independence, both Mangkunegara VII and Pakubuwono IX declared Surakarta a part of Republic of Indonesia (RI). Because of this support, President Soekarno declared Surakarta as Daerah Istimewa Surakarta (DIS)/"Surakarta Special Region".

In October 1945, an anti-"swapraja" (anti-feudalism/anti-monarchy) movement was established in Surakarta. One of the leaders of this movement was Tan Malaka, a member of the Indonesian Communist Party. This organization wanted to abolish all feudal kingdoms in Surakarta, the Surakarta special region (DIS), and replace all regents in Surakarta. The key debate was whether the end of Dutch rule should bring a total change in the government, or whether the ancient and historic institutions, giving the people a link to pre-colonial times, should be retained.

October 17, 1945, KRMH Sosrodiningrat, the vizier of Mangkunegara kingdom was kidnapped and murdered by communists. The new vizier, KRMT Yudonagoro and 9 other officials from Kepatihan were also kidnapped and murdered by the same movement in March 1946.

In 1946, the capital of Republic of Indonesia (RI) was moved to the nearby city of Yogyakarta.

On June 16, 1946, the DIS was abolished replaced with regency ("kabupaten") of Surakarta. This event is commemorated as the birthday of the city of Surakarta. This only has administrative and not civic significance.

On June 26, 1946, Prime Minister of Indonesia Sutan Syahrir was kidnapped by a rebel movement led by Major General Soedarsono, the commander of 3rd division.

President Soekarno (more often called Sukarno) was angry at this kidnapping and on July 1, 1946, 14 civilian leaders of this movement, including Tan Malaka was arrested by Indonesian police.

On July 2, 1946, the rebel leaders were freed from Wirogunan prison by rebel troops, led by Maj. Gen. Soedarsono.

President Soekarno asked the local military commander in Surakarta, Lieutenant Colonel Soeharto (later becoming President Soeharto [oten spelled Suharto] ) to arrest Major General Soedarsono and the rebel group. Lt. Col. Soeharto refused to follow this command unless it was given directly by the Military Chief of Staff, General Soedirman. President Soekarno was angry at this rejection of his authority to give direct commands to all levels of the military, and called Lt. Col. Soeharto a stubborn ("koppig") officer.

Lt. Col. Soeharto pretended that he supported the rebellion and persuaded Maj. Gen. Soedarsono and his group to stay at his Head Quarters at Wiyoro, Surakarta for their own safety. Later that night he persuaded Maj. Gen. Soedarsono to meet President Soekarno at his palace on the next morning. Lt. Col. Soeharto secretly informed the presidential guard troops about Maj. Gen. Soedarsono plan on the next morning.

On July 3, 1946, Maj. Gen. Soedarsono and his group was arrested by the presidential guard troops near the palace. PM Syahrir was released unharmed. Several months later, Maj. Gen. Soedarsono and his group were pardoned and released from prison.

Later this rebellion was called the "failed July 3, 1946 coup". This event is mentioned in President Soeharto's autobiography published in 1988.

From 1945 to 1948, the Dutch re-occupied various regions in Java. The remaining area of Republic Indonesia were in Yogyakarta, Surakarta and surrounding areas.

In December 1948, the Dutch attacked and occupied the cities of Yogyakarta and Surakarta. The Indonesian army led by General Soedirman started a guerrilla war from surrounding areas. The Dutch said that RI was destroyed and no longer existed. To disprove this claim, the Indonesian army conducted large scale raids into the cities of Jogyakarta and Surakarta called "Serangan Oemoem". The Indonesian troops managed to beat the Dutch troops and occupy the city for several hours. The leader of the raid to Yogyakarta was Lt. Col. Soeharto. The leader of a similar raid on Surakarta on August 7, 1949 was Lt. Col. Slamet Riyadi.

To commemorate this event, the main street on the city of Surakarta is renamed as "Brigadier General Slamet Riyadi Street".


By 1950 Surakarta had a population of 165,484 [Columbia-Lippencott Gazeteer] In 1950 Surakarta, or Solo, was a trade center for such agricultural products as rice, rubber, corn, indigo, cassava and sugar. It also had seen the development of some industries. These included tanning, textiles and machinery. Also batik making was a common activity.

1960s troubles

From October 1965 to 1966, there was large scale chaos in Central Java, following an abortive coup and the subsequent killings of 1965–66.

1998 riot

In May 1998, there was a large scale riot in Surakarta. At first, it was the oil price getting higher that triggered the riot. Angry mob ransacked and set many buildings on fire, particularly banks and official government buildings. But then the situation became uncontrolled as the mob targeted shopping centers and other commercial buildings to be destroyed as well, before it finally turned into a racial riot as rioters targeted houses and business assets of the local Indonesian-Chinese, leading to widespread destruction in the region.

Recent Developments

In the early 1980s, Abubakar Basyir and Husein Al Habshi established Pesantren Ngruki, an Islamic school in Surakarta. Their views are considered by some to be extreme and hard line, a threat to the pluralistic and democratic nature of Indonesian society.

In 1984-1985, an extreme Muslim group with connections to the Ngruki school began plotting violent actions. They planned to attack foreign tourists in the nearby Borobudur temple and on the island of Bali. However the bomb at Borobudur exploded prematurely early in the morning, and no one was hurt. The bomb sent to Bali exploded prematurely on the "Pemudi" bus on the way from Surakarta to Bali.

In 1985, Basyir and Habshi were arrested by the police. They were sentenced to several years in prison. They appealed the sentence and during the appeal process, Basyir managed to escape to Malaysia and stayed there for 14 years. In Malaysia, Basyir and Sungkar established the "Jihad Islam" (JI) organization.

In May 1998, there was a large scale riot in Surakarta, because of oil price hikes. A mob ransacked and burned the office of the Surakarta mayor and other nearby government buildings. The destroyed buildings have since been rebuilt. Additionally, rioters targeted the homes and businesses of the local Indonesian-Chinese, leading to widespread destruction.

In 1999, Basyir returned to Indonesia and established an Islamist group called Majelis Mujahideen Indonesia (MMI) in Surakarta. This group often conducts sweeps against foreign tourists from the USA, the UK, Denmark, and Italy in Surakarta.

From 2002 to 2005, terrorists related to the JI group were blamed for bomb attacks against foreign tourist in various areas in Indonesia. Some believe most JI terrorists are alumni of "Pesantren Ngruki" in Surakarta. However since most of these Islamist radicals are still at large it is hard to say what their full history is.

Local dialect

The mother tongue of Surakartans is a local variety Javanese, which differs in some aspects from other areas speaking Javanese. For example, for Surakatans the Javanese word for "cold" is "adem", but in Semarang it is "atis". The Javanese language of Surakarta and Yogyakarta is used as the standard for all Javanese speakers throughout the nation. Indonesia's official national language Indonesian.


Food associated with Surakarta includes "Nasi Liwet", "Nasi Timlo", "Gudeg", "Serabi", "Intip", "Roti Mandarin", and "Bakpia Balong".


Further reading

* Miksic, John (general ed.), et al. (2006) "Karaton Surakarta. A look into the court of Surakarta Hadiningrat, central Java" (First published: 'By the will of His Serene Highness Paku Buwono XII'. Surakarta: Yayasan Pawiyatan Kabudayan Karaton Surakarta, 2004) Marshall Cavendish Editions Singapore ISBN 981-261-226-2
* Soeharto, G. Dwipayana dan Ramadhan K.H. "Ucapan, Pikiran dan Tindakan Saya". 1988. PT Citra Lamtoro Gung.

External links

* [ Military History Centre] - "Serangan Oemoem" (August 7, 1949).

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