ITS–It is not exaggeration to say that the culture and tradition of Cirebon, West Java, are less than of Yogyakarta and Bali. Lack of promotion causes Cirebon does not have selling points to the both domestic and foreign tourists, as it is said by Sultan Sepuh XIV Keraton Kasepuhan Raja Adipati Arief Nataditiningrat. Here, Cirebon’s Pesona Festival held from 31 March to 2 April 2016 is a moment of truth. The festival was held in three tourist destinations. They are the Keraton Kasepuhan, Waterland Ade Irma Suryani and Waterpark Gua Sunyaragi, representing old and today Cirebon related to history and culture of Cirebon. All traditions, unique crafts and culinary are available. There were, among others, gamelan renteng, hadaroh, traditional dances, buroq and sisingaan.
Some 20 ambassadors and cultural attaches were invited to the event. Also, it was attended by representatives of 10 keratons all over the country, 20 travel agents, and representatives of 30 tourism departments from 30 provinces in Indonesia. Arief Yahya, Minister of Tourism, said the event is an effort to ‘sell’ Cirebon not only to domestic but also foreign tourists. In Cirebon, there are more than twenty special, historical and beautiful tourism destinations. As we know, located at West Java, Cirebon has a great resource of sea, especially shrimps. This city is almost always be passed every time any one wants to go to West Java or Jakarta from Central Java and any east cities of Java.
The location of Cirebon is very strategic. In the Indojavanese time it was the most important harbor of the mighty Galuh kingdom, of which the capital was located in the fertile of Citanduy River, not too far away from Ciamis. The harbor also opened the way to the Cimanuk River, which flows through Sumedang to the lake basin of Bandung. Because the coasts of Western Java are swampy and in some places rocky Cirebon and Sunda Kelapa (Jakarta), together with Banten in the far West, the main entries to the blooming highlands. At 14th century, the city was a part of Padjajaran Kingdom. Then, the Moslem movement there was so fast and Padjajaran commanded to remove the settlement to Lemahwungkuk, 5 kilometers from Cirebon harbor. In the city itself; the ancient palace (keraton) of Kasepuhan and Kanoman now serve as museums which are open to the public, exhibiting household ornaments, paintings, calligraphy and other art treasures of the courts.
The royal carriages are sumptuous in design, one of them a gilded coach in the form of a winged elephant. The three well-known palaces (Kraton) of Cirebon are Pakungwati, Kesepuhan, and Kanoman. The former is the earliest of the three and has said to be occupied by Sunan Gunung Jati himself. In fact, according to the records preserved within the Kesepuhan Palace, and firmly believed by the Cirebon people, the normally accepted account of Sunan Gunung Jati’s life is incorrect. Syarif Hidayatullah was, they claim, the son of an Egyptian King and a Sundanese princess. He lived until the age of 120 and died in 1568 A.D.
Not far from the Kasepuhan Kraton is “Mesjid Agung” (Grand Mosque). It is in a traditional Javanese style and made entirely of wood. Nearby, there is an ancient royal cemetery where a holy sultan was buried which has become a place for pilgrimage at the Astana Gunung. Jati Cirebon is also known for its distinct batik, now a flourishing industry in Trusmi village. The local seafood is among the best in West Java. Another specialty this city can offer the visitor is a wide range of seafood. It is the best place to enjoy seafood.
Written by Rini Nur Adiati