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A karaton (keraton , kraton) is a walled city within a city. It is the place where a ruler dwells. It is not a palace nor a
castle, but it contains the royal residence, and the residences and workshops of nobles and retainers.
In February 1745 the court of Mataram shifted from Kartasura to the the village of Solo and established a new
karaton at that place, this new karaton was named Karaton Surakarta Hadiningrat.
The Karaton Surakarta is home to the senior branch of the House of Mataram, which had its beginning in 1575 under
Ki Ageng Pemanahan. Other branches of this Royal house are the Karaton Jogjakarta, the Mangkunegaraan, and the
A visitor to the Surakarta Karaton is able to see virtually all external public parts of the Karaton, but cannot enter
the private quarters of the Royal Family. A museum forms part of the tour a visitor is able to take.
The photographs below are not intended as a guide book of the Karaton, nor as a photographic essay designed to
show the Surakarta Karaton at its best. Rather, I have attempted to show what a visitor to the Karaton and its
museum will see, and more or less in the order in which things shall be seen. For the most part there are no captions
nor explanations, simply because to make the explanations understandable would involve a great deal of writing.
However, any questions in respect of the images shown here will be answered.
The museum has either no light, or very poor light, mostly only natural light coming from small, high windows. As a
consequence the photographs of exhibits are of poor quality, and I have had to do a lot of Photoshop work on all of
them to make them viewable at all. In fact, this is completely in line with the experience of a visitor, as many
exhibits are so poorly lit that you almost need a torch to see them. It is as if being in the presence of these objects is
considered to be sufficient :- it is not really necessary to be able to see them.
Maker's mark on the base of
one of the cast iron columns,
which were imported from
It is forbidden to take
sand from the Karaton
What must be
observed for entry to
Smoking is forbidden
It is forbidden to carry
Please dress in a proper
Please do not wear
footwear other than shoes
The pictures are of
previous rulers of
Pictures of previous
rulers, the chairs
are personal chairs
of previous rulers.
Previous rulers. The "PB"
stands for Pakubuwana, the