It is located in the center of the city of Yogyakarta or just Yogya as the local people call it and can be reached easily by taxi, becak, andong – the horse-drawn cart, or by public bus. Karaton means a place where the Ratu-king lives, other word is Kedaton, with the same meaning. In the Javanese teachings, it has a deep philosophical meaning.
The palace of Yogyakarta, known as the Keraton (also spelled kraton or karaton), is a grand complex that was meticulously planned to reflect the Javanese cosmos. This splendid example of traditional Javanese architecture has no equal. Designed and built in stages, the Keraton was completed in 1790. This elegant complex of pavilions was constructed entirely on ancient beliefs and each feature of the complex, from the courtyards to the trees, has a special symbolic meaning related to sophisticated Javanese world view. The 14.000 sq. m of the Karaton Yogya has deep philosophical meaning with all its building, courts, carving, trees, and location. This is a Karaton full of significant symbols of human life.
His palace was designed to be more than just a royal residence. It was built to be a focal point of the Sultan’s entire kingdom. Today, the Keraton is a piece of living history and tradition. It continues to be used both as a home of the Sultan as well as for other important ceremonial and cultural functions of the Yogya court. The present Sultan Hamengku Buwono X of Yogyakarta retains the title of Sultan although Yogya has become one of the provinces of the Republic of Indonesia.
Usually visitors are coming from MALIOBORO STREET, southward through the Alun-alun (north square). In order to understand perfectly well the symbolic meaning of the Karaton, one should walk from south to north. Start from Krapyak, a village of about 3 km south of Keraton.
Even with Yogya’s modernization, the Keraton of Yogya continues to be respected by the people of Yogya, steeped as it is in mysticism and philosophy. In the afternoons, after the palace is closed to visitors, women in traditional costume can be seen respectfully sprinkling water and flowers on the pillars, lighting incense to “cleanse” the keraton from evil spirits. Walk around this ancient palace and take in the intricate details of this royal complex. The price of admission includes a guided tour (available in English and other languages).