The Palace of Kartasura, a Fading Origin of Solo

The Palace of Kartasura, a Fading Origin of Solo

- in Culture, History, Article and News
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ITS—The four meters high and two meters thick wall looks dull and neglected. Most parts of the wall are covered with moss and weeds. At the gate of the wall, the information board shows that the building is the heritage of the Kartasura Palace. Referring to its history, the Kartasura Palace was the origin of the Solo Palace which remains relatively intact. The Great Book of Tanah Jawi (Land of Java) tells that the complex of the Kartasura Palace was once majestic and sturdy. The remaining of the fort of the Kartasura Palace witnessed an important era i.e. the historic triumph of the kingdom of Mataram-Islam in Java.

The outer part of the two-layered-wall fort was named Baluwarti, while the inner part was called Sri Manganti. Outside Baluwarti, there was a wide furrow and thorny shrub. It surrounded the wall and functioned as the defense shields. But today, the fort is what is left. It is defective, with the remaining visible part of 100 meters soiled wall covered with wild plants.

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The Kartasura Palace was established in 1680 during the reign of the King of Mataram, Sunan Amangkurat II. It was this King who moved the capital of Mataram from Plered (now part of the regency of Bantul) to  the forest area of Wonokerto, which was then called Kartasura . He did it because the old Plered Palace was seized by Pangeran Puger. Sunan Amangkurat II held the throne for 23 years in this palace and his government was bequeathed to his son, Prince Adipati Anom.

The Kartasura Kingdom was devastated in 1742 during the era of Paku Buwono II or Prince Prabayasa. During this period the Kartasura Palace was devastated by the attack of RM Garendhi, the grandson of Sunan Amangkurat III, who collaborated with the Chinese descents. Hence, the rebellion is often called the Chinatown War.

Prince Sambernyowo, who was also known as Raden Mas Said, took advantage of the momentum. Raden Mas Said was angered and disappointed with the policy of the Kartasura Palace that decreased the control over Sukowati. This area was formerly granted by the Palace to his father. Prince Sambernyowo supported the insurgents to destroy Kartasura.

In this attack, Paku Buwono II commanded the royal family and the servants to flee to the Southwestern part of East Java, which covered from Pacitan to Ponorogo. Meanwhile, the Chinese rebelling troops destroyed the Kartasura Palace and severely looted the abandoned palace treasures.

When the royal family of Kartasura returned, the palace was almost completely destructed. Sri Susuhunan (His Majesty) Paku Buwono II then commanded his servants to build a new palace. For this mission, Paku Buwono II sent his palace officials to find a new location to build the Palace of Kasunanan or the Sultanate.

They finally selected the village of Sala. It was the location where the Surakarta Palace was built. In 1745 the government of Kasunanan which was the legacy of Mataram, moved from Kartasura to the village of Sala which has now been developing into a city called SOLO or Sala. From its history, the Palace of Kartasura was the first knot or the origin of the city of Solo.

It is no hard to find the historical trails of the Kartasura Palace, It is in the village of Krapyak, Kartasura, Sukoharjo, Central Java. Located in the western part of the city of Solo, and only 15 minutes away drive by car. Approximately 300 meters to the south of the main road Slamet Riyadi – Kartasura. The place complex is relatively wide, with about  2.500 meters square (2,5 hectares) of land.

However, the remains of the previously known as the palace looks obscure. It becomes a cemetery area. Beside the grave of the royal family, in some part of the area there lies the public cemetery. “Since 2005, this location was closed for a public funeral,” Haris the caretaker of the Kartasura Palace said.

What is left is the Kedaton or castle building, which is marked with 2 big stones on the floor, measuring approximately 4 x 4 meters width with a thickness of around 50 centimeters. It is located under the giant tree of 20 meters high. At the other side of the complex, there is a joglo (typical Javanese architecture) roof made of wooden poles with no walls, which can indicate the majestic Paseban Hall. It is the legacy of Paku Buwono X, the king of Solo, who initiated the modernization of the Palace complex.

The rest of the historical building of the Kartasura Palace appears uncared. The maintenance fund is only coming voluntarily from the donations of the pilgrims. The regional government of Sukoharjo Regency intents to conduct a renovation, but it has not been realized until today.

The Kartasura Palace has a high historical value, but its tracks almost disappear. The initiative of Spirit Joglosemar, which is supported by 12 State Owned Enterprises, is expected to help in restoring this historical heritage, so that it will not be blown away by the waves of modernization.⁠⁠⁠⁠

Rini Nur Adiati

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