Indonesia had all sorts of kings and sultans during the centuries and even does so now. Some of these kings of Yogyakarta had more than 80 children, so imagine how many concubines must have been necessary to produce them. Therefore my first steps in Yogyakarta led me to the Royal Palace which doesn’t look like much to the typical European eye. But it does have something regal. Only later did I realize that the palace is within the The Kraton. It is a huge complex which includes so much more than just the Royal Palace.
There are lots of open buildings inside which is understandable considering the temperatures. Once you look closer you can make out interesting details.
The Water Castle, still within the grounds of The Kraton, but actually 2km away from the Royal Palace, was a place for relaxation and resting. Today it’s hard to find and I was glad we found a local to give us a tour. Part of the Water Palace is gone and houses have crept up to it from all sides. The Palace including the Water Castle are a World heritage Site. So you definitely need to go see them.
Just a short walk and part of the Water Castle is the Underground Mosque. Take my word for it and get a guide. I would not have found it without him. And it’s fun to have someone show you around and tell you a little bit. Especially if you then give him a tip and know that he supports his family with this. Anyway, you walk into the Underground Mosque through a nondescript door and walk down a flight of stairs.
The mosque is a round structure and on two levels. One for the women and one for men. It also features a mihrab, a small niche which points to Mecca. The inside is dark but what is most amazing is the staircase in the middle. It leads up to five different doorways. The number has apparently some meaning in Islam. Sorry to say that I have no clue what. But whatever it is the staircase was the best feature of the mosque. Everything is plain but the stairs give this building something majestic. As if built towards heaven. Yours, Pollybert