Photo: Glorious Borobudur.

Introduction

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As ancient as the antiquities that surround it, and steeped in rich culture and tradition, Yogyakarta is Java’s heart and it pumps with youthful innovation and spirit. Cradled in the fertile hinterland of central Java under the shadow of Mount Merapi, and hemmed to the south by the Indian Ocean, it’s famous for both traditional and contemporary arts and being a seat of academia. It’s also shrouded in myth and folklore. This vibrant, fascinating centre is sure to capture your heart.


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So, now we’ve been introduced, what do we call this place? Yogyakarta is the official spelling; the Sultan uses Ngayojakarto; Dutch colonialists used Djogdjakarta; Jogjakarta is widespread; and then it’s commonly shortened to Yogya or Jogja. The Javanese spelling Jogja is employed in the logo of the city, but we’re going with the slightly more formal Indonesian usage, Yogya. No, it doesn’t sound like yoga—it’s “Jog-jah”.

Borobodur is reason enough to come to Yogya. But then there's so much more. Photo taken in or around Yogyakarta, Indonesia by Sally Arnold.

Borobodur is reason enough to come to Yogya. But then there's so much more. Photo: Sally Arnold

Back before the name Yogyakarta was spelled at all, the area was home to Hindu, Buddhist and animist dynasties during the eighth to 10th centuries AD. The legacies of those dynasties can be seen by visiting the incredible Borobudur, the world’s largest Buddhist monument, and the Hindu Prambanan temple complex. Gradually, the religious makeup of the region changed with the expansion of Islam across the island. The Mataram Islamic dynasty centred at Kota Gede became the dominant force here from the late 16th century to early ... Travelfish members only (Around 1,500 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.


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