Yogyakarta (pronounced JOHG-jah-KAHR-tah) is one of the best city destinations in all of Indonesia. Yogyakarta means “city of peace.” Yogyakarta is located in south-central Java. Approximately six million people reside throughout the province.
Yogyakarta is a city and province known as the Special Region of Yogyakarta. It is the only province in Indonesia that is still governed by a precolonial Sultan—the Sultanate of Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat.
Yogyakarta is a center of classical Javanese art and culture, including batik, ballet, drama, music, poetry, and puppet shows.
Yogyakarta also is the center for Indonesian higher education, with some of the most elite universities in Indonesia, including Gadjah Mada University, one of the largest and most prestigious universities in Indonesia. Other major universities in Yogyakarta include Universitas Negeri Yogyakarta, Universitas Islam Indonesia, Universitas Sanata Dharma, and Universitas Atma Jaya Yogyakarta.
The city sprawls in all directions from the Sultan’s Kraton at the center. However, the real core of this modern city is to the north. Jalan Malioboro, with rows of sidewalk vendors, is the primary shopping street for tourists, while Jalan Solo, further north, is a shopping district frequented by locals. At the southern end of Malioboro, is the large local market of Beringharjo, which is near Fort Vredeburg, a restored Dutch colonial fortress. The Yogyakarta region stretches from the south coast of the island to Mount Merapi, an active volcano that overlooks the city.
Nearby destinations include the beaches at Parangtritis, the mountain resort town of Kaliurang at the base of Merapi, and the Hindu temples of Prambanan. The Buddhist temple of Borobudur often is visited from Yogyakarta.
The city is located on one of the two major railroad lines across Java between Jakarta and Surabaya. It has two passenger railway stations and Tugu is the major intercity station. The city also has an extensive system of public city buses, and is a major destination for inter-city buses across Java or Bali, as well as taxis and becaks. Motorbikes are the most common personal transportation, but an increasing number of residents own automobiles.
Yogyakarta also is near numerous active volcanoes. At 9,500 feet above sea level, a smoldering Mount Merapi towers over the city. It is one of the most active and deadly volcanoes in this country. A massive earthquake shook the area in 2005, which killed hundreds of people and damaged many local landmarks.