Puro-Mangkunegaran-Solo
Puro Mangkunegaran Solo (Photo: pariwisatasolo.surakarta.go.id)

Xelexi.com – The Solo city or also known as Surakarta, located in Central Java, Indonesia presents many amazing tourist destinations as their neighbouring areas of Yogyakarta. Both the cultural values and the noble values are still well preserved in almost every corner of this lovely city.

And it turns out that many unique and interesting things that you can find in this city. Curious? Here are some interesting facts about Solo.

1. Unique Rail Line

Solo is the only city in Indonesia that has a rail-road track in the middle of the city directly adjacent to the main road, without any barrier. Usually the train track is located far from the crowd, but here, the path passes just on the Slamet Riyadi Street, which is the main street of the city.

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Railbus Bathara Kresna, Solo (Photo: Dwi Prasetya/JIBI/SOLOPOS)

Trains that use this path are Railbus Bathara Kresna and Jaladara Steam Train or better known as Sepur Kluthuk Jaladara.

Jaladara Steam Train has two carriages and is towed by Locomotive C 1218, with a total capacity of up to 72 passengers.  This tour train serves Purwosari Station line to Sangkrah Station along ± 6 km and must be reserved at least a week before.

While Railbus Bathara Kresna has 3 series of carriages with a maximum passenger capacity of 117 people. The railbus serves a round-trip route from Purwosari station in Solo to Wonogiri, through Solokota, Sukoharjo and Pasar Nguter stations.

The first departure from Purwosari Station to Wonogiri is at 04.00 AM while the first departure from Wonogiri to Purwosari at 06.00 AM. In contrast to Jaladara Steam Train, to ride Bathara Kresna train you don’t need to book a week before, you can buy the ticket at the counter of the station directly on the D day of departure.

2. The City with Two Kingdoms

The establishment of two kingdoms in the Surakarta region occurred through a long history in the colonial period of the 1750s. After passing the war phase against the VOC and then the peace agreement, finally the Kingdom of Mataram Surakarta is divided into two: Kasunanan Surakarta and Mangkunegaran Surakarta. Each kingdom has its own King and Palace.

The Kasunanan Palace is located in Baluwarti Village, Pasar Kliwon Subdistrict, Surakarta. Meanwhile the Palace or Pura Mangkunegaran is located in downtown Solo today, Ronggowarsito Street.

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Keraton Kasunanan Solo (Photo: indonesia-heritage.net)

Kasunanan Palace became a big symbol in Solo. Founded by Susuhunan Pakubuwono II (Sunan PB II) in 1744 as a substitute for Keraton Kartasura which is damaged by riot in 1743. Kasunanan Palace stands majestically with an area of 54 arce, and has a wealth of Mataram royal treasures such as statues, royal heirlooms, ancient weapons and the Sanggabuwana Tower.

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Puro Mangkunegaran Solo (Photo: pariwisatasolo.surakarta.go.id)

Meanwhile, the magnificent and beautiful Pura Mangkunegaran Palace was built in 1757 as the residence of Raden Mas Said who has the title of Mangkunegaran I, as the result of the Giyanti Agreement. Raden Mas Said was the son of Aryan Mangkunegaran who was fighting against the VOC army.

The name of “Pura” itself comes from the Javanese term which means the palace or kingdom. Pura Mangkunegaran become a cultural and art center in Solo City. Various valuable collections in the palace are believed to originate from the Kingdom of Mataram and Majapahit.

Both of these palaces are important destinations and worth a visit, because we can learn about the past through the relics of historical objects.

3. Culinary Tour at Pasar Gede

Pasar Gede Hardjonegoro or commonly known as Pasar Gede Solo is one of the historical monuments of Solo city. Development of Pasar Gede started in 1927 and completed in 1930. This market became the oldest traditional market in Solo.

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Pasar Gede Solo (Photo: wisatasolo.id)

Designed by Thomas Karsten, a Dutch architect, the architecture of Pasar Gede is a blend of Dutch style and Javanese style. Pasar Gede is located on Jl. Jend. Urip Sumoharjo, across from the City Hall of Surakarta.

Besides staple food, you can also find many traditional Solo food vendors and other Javanese specialties. There are dozens of sellers who sell nasi liwet, pecel, fried chicken, es dawet, rambak crackers, karak crackers, intip crackers, cenil, timlo, and so on.

Therefore, Pasar Gede is famous as a tourist destination for culinary travellers.

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4. Sate Buntel

In Solo you will find a unique sate or satay, which is Sate Buntel. This type of satay is different from regular satay.

In general, satay is made from small pieces of meat pierced in such a way with a puncture stick or bamboo then roasted using charcoal wood coals, and served with a variety of spices that depend on the variation of sate recipe.

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Sate Buntel Solo (Photo: Dentist Chef)

Meanwhile, Sate Buntel is made from minced goat meat that wrapped in goat fat and then burned. Usually, seasoning for Sate Buntel is pepper and sweet soy sauce.

You can find sate buntel restaurants in many locations in Solo. Some of the most famous are:

  • Sate Buntel “Haji Bejo” in Lojiwetan.
  • Sate Kambing “Mbok Galak” at Jalan Mangun Sarkoro, Banyuanyar.
  • Sate Kambing dan Sate Buntel “Pak Narto” at Jalan Kyai Mojo, Baturono, Pasar Kliwon.

Enjoying the delicious Sate Buntel is something worth a try when you are in Solo.

5. Solo Batik

Batik is a craft that has high artistic value and has become part of Indonesian culture (especially Java) since yore. Batik Indonesia has also been appointed by UNESCO as a Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity since October 2, 2009.

Sidomukti and Sidoluhur batik patterns are examples of famous Solo batik motifs. There are also Parang, Barong, Kawung and Sawat. Each style has its own meaning along with the hope to bring goodness to the person who wear it.

For example, the basic form of the letter S in Batik Parang style is taken from the ocean waves that describe a spirit that never goes out.

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Motif Batik Parang (Photo: kesolo[dot]com)

It has the meaning of advice to never give up, like a sea waves that never stop moving. Batik Parang also describes a never-ending effort, either in the sense of attempts to self-improvement, the struggle for welfare, or in terms of family ties.

6. Batik Wholesale Cente  

If you are looking for batik at a cheap price, then you should come to Pasar Klewer (or Klewer Market).

Located adjacent to the Surakarta Palace, this market is a shopping center for batik cloth that became the reference of batik traders in Indonesia. Pasar Klewer is also the largest textile market in Solo.

It is said that the name Klewer taken from the way they used to sell batik around the palace was by hanging randomly, which in the local language is called “klewer”.

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Pasar Klewer Solo, Central Java, Indonesia (Photo: Jawa Pos Radar Solo)

In Pasar Klewer you will find many kiosks or shops selling various batik ranging from kebaya, shirts, dresses, batik shirts, to cloths of various sizes. The collection also varies, not only typical batik of Solo, but also typical batik of Banyumas, Pekalongan, Madura, and Yogyakarta.

Besides Pasar Klewer, you might want to buy batik at the famous batik boutique chain from Solo, Batik Keris. But of course the price is in accordance with its quality.

Or you can also easily purchase batik at other batik centers such as Kampung Batik Laweyan and Kampung Batik Kauman.

7. Ngarsopuro Night Market

Ngarsopuro Night Market is only open on Saturday night, at 18.00 – 22.00. Held on Jalan Diponegoro, in front of Pura Mangkunegaran.

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Ngarsopuro Night Market (Photo: pasargedhe.wordpress.com)

Located in the heart of the city close to Jl. Slamet Riyadi, making the impromptu night market is always crowded by visitors. Here you can take a walk while enjoying the atmosphere, shopping crafts and souvenirs typical of Solo, as well as culinary tours.

In the center of the night market there is a kind of stage used for dance, music, and drama performances. Among the available snacks are nasi liwet, cabuk rambak, and wedang ronde which you can enjoy while sitting on a mat. Wedang ronde is a hot dessert containing glutinous rice balls stuffed with peanut paste, floating in a hot and sweet ginger and lemongrass tea.

Well, that’s all some unique and interesting facts about Solo. Hopefully this short article is enough to help you to know more about Solo.

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