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This province is one of the most densely populated areas of Indonesia. The city came into being in 1755, after the Mataram division into the Sultanates of Yogyakarta and Surakarta (Solo). Gamelan, classical and contemporary Javanese dances, wayang kulit (leather puppet), theater and other expressions of traditional art will keep the visitor spellbound. Local craftsmen excel in arts such batiks, silver and leather works. Next to the traditional, contemporary art has found fertile soil in Yogya’s culture oriented society.
Yogyakarta has more than just culture though. It is a very lively city and a shopper’s delight. The main road, Malioboro Street, is always crowded and famous for its night street food-culture and street vendors. Many tourist shops and cheap hotels are concentrated along this street or in the adjoining tourist area such Sosrowijayan Street.
The key attraction of Yogyakarta is ‘Kraton’ (the Sultan’s Palace). The Sultan’s palace is the centre of Yogya’s traditional life and despite the advance of modernity; it still emanates the spirit of refinement, which has been the hallmark of Yogya’s art for centuries. This vast complex of decaying buildings was built in the 18th century, and is actually a walled city within the city with luxurious pavilions and in which the current Sultan still resides. Yogyakarta is also the only major city, which still has traditional ‘Becak’ (rickshaw-style) transport.