When it comes to ancient landmarks and monuments, Yogyakarta is the most popular city in Indonesia located south of Central Java. There is so much history in Yogyakarta (pronounced as Jogjakarta and also known as Jogja by many people). Much can be learned of the city’s culture and heritage from Museum Sonobudoyo, the prime museum in Yogyakarta, which itself is considered a living museum since it is one of the oldest cities in Indonesia.
Although there are a number of equally interesting mosques, temples and structures in the capital city of Jakarta, nothing compares to the historic landmarks in Jogja. Two of the most important city landmarks are the Borobudur Temple and Prambanan Temple, both of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Prambanan is the largest Hindu temple in Indonesia and Borobudur is the largest and most iconic Buddhist temple in the country. Other leading heritage attractions are Kotagede, the silver district and historical center of the ancient Mataram Kingdom, the Kraton complex where Sultan’s Palace is located, and the Tamansari water castle.
About Museum Sonobudoyo
Museum Sonobudoyo is home to a number of important artifacts and archeological finds. It has a rich display of traditional puppets (wayang kulit), intriguing masks (topeng), and the popular batik fabric, which is known for its intricate hand-made designs. But what really stands out in Sonobudoyo is its huge display of keris.
Keris or kris is a traditional Indonesian dagger that is popular all over Southeast Asia. It has curved edges that make this tiny weapon deadly and very distinguished. Museum Sonobudoyo has about 1,200 keris that came from all over Indonesia such as Yogyakarta, Solo, Madura, Kalimantan and Sulawesi, among other locations, and mostly donated by the Java Institute. Each area has a slightly different version of the dagger. Most of the differences are in the number of curves and handle designs, which include a human figure, human head, dragon, lion, and so on.
The museum’s wide array of keris is a delight to the people of Yogyakarta since the city prohibits the public display of keris. The dagger is considered sacred. To see the museum’s collection, a museum guest has to first get permission from the museum director.
Other museums in Yogyakarta are Museum Kareta Kraton or the Sultan’s Carriage Museum (featuring 23 ancient carriages and chariots used by Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono VII), Museum Dirgantara or Aircraft Museum (featuring vintage World War II aircrafts and related equipments), Museum Affandi (featuring the life and works of the famous painter), and Benteng Vredeburg Museum (an old Dutch fortress).
Visitors wanting to visit Museum Sonobudoyo will not have a hard time locating it. This popular repository of ancient and cultural treasures is found across the North Square of the city. All taxis and rickshaws know where it is, and in fact one may walk all the way to the museum since Yogyakarta is not a large city. Admission to the museum is 3,000 Rp. It is open from Tuesday to Thursday at 7:00 AM to 2:30 PM, Fridays from 7:00 AM to 11 AM, and Saturday and Sunday from 7:30 AM to 1:00 PM.