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Dubbed ‘Yogya’ by the locals, Yogyakarta in central Java is a modern city that takes fierce pride in upholding classical Javanese traditions. It is the only Javanese city still governed by a monarchy, and is renowned within Indonesia for its prestigious schools of art and culture. Classical ballet dancers, batik artists, silversmiths and others flock to Jogja to hone their craft.
Visitors should start at the Kraton, the sultan’s palace. The royal family are the patrons of a number of artistics workshops here; visitors are likely to find themselves in the midst of an orchestra performance, poetry reading or shadow puppetry performance.
Yogya has plenty to offer beyond the Kraton, of course. Head to the traditional Beringharjo Market nearby to the assortment of batik fabrics, clothes, snacks and traditional herbs sold here, or keep going north to experience Malioboro Road’s famous street food scene. Those looking for higher-quality souvenirs should visit the silversmiths in Kotagede district in Yogya’s east end. The shops here are well-known for the superiority of their silverwork; most of the workshops can be found on Jalan Kamasan Street, but there are hidden gems around the backstreets too.
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