Klewer Market and the Great Mosque of Surakarta Palace

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Klewer Market in the morning.

I started walking to north towards Alun-Alun Lor (North Square) of Hadiningrat Surakarta Palace. Its distance was less than half a kilometer from palace courtyard. I arrived in five minutes. As far as my eyes could see, Alun-Alun Lor was quite well-maintained, with an area of ​​almost seven hectares. Covered by imperfect green grass which was covering the entire square, asphalt paths crossed from north to south and from west to east and in each side of square were surrounded by large trees (banyan trees in between). Meanwhile, to limiting the road which surrounding the square, a chest-high iron fence were built which aligned with inner boundary of sidewalk.

I seem lazy to go to the middle of square, just kept walking around it and intended to go to eastern part of square to kill my curiosity about the biggest textile shopping center in Solo, i.e Klewer Market. Like Tanah Abang Market in Jakarta, Klewer Market was the city’s economic pulse with a very capable cash flow cycle. I arrived right in front of market gate which was still quiet. Some traders have started to come and bringing coli of textiles upstairs. Meanwhile, several stalls seemed to be opened to prepare for trade that morning. I tried to step to the first floor and went around looking at each side. Looking at its surrounding conditions, I could imagine that this market would be very busy if all stalls were opened.

I won’t wait until Klewer Market actually was opened, I immediately went down and heading to north of the market. This time I would visit Great Mosque of Surakarta Palace which was still part of Hadiningrat Surakarta Palace. The mosque, with a three-tiered roofs, appeared to be devoted to witnessing the marriage of a couple who seemed to be important people, because I saw there was a greeting flower board from President Joko Widodo and his family. That event then discouraged me to entering the mosque.

Great Mosque of Surakarta Palace.
Great Mosque of Surakarta Palace

The mosque was decorated with classic lampposts in its courtyard, even more beautiful with its elegant single minaret which standing in north of courtyard. This 232-years-old mosque was still quite dashing and elegant standing at east side of Alun-Alun Lor which was side by side with Klewer Market.

Finally, I had been in the last part of Surakarta Hadiningrat Palace complex. I started to leave palace area by passing eastern side of Slamet Riyadi Street which was marked by a Brigadier General Slamet Riyadi statue who looked dashing while pointing a gun into sky. Slamet Riyadi himself was a hero of Solo City who fall in Ambon while carrying out state duties in quelling the rebellion of Republic of South Maluku.

Now my intention was turning towards my first destination when I did the survey yesterday. I wasn’t looking for Dawet Telasih Ice, but a traditional culinary which was quite famous in Solo.

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Visiting Surakarta Hadiningrat Palace

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Soundly resting in Amaris Hotel Sriwedari made me woke up just as Shubuh call to prayer rang out. Taking time to enjoy the dawn from behind a glass window in the room, I decided to splash under the shower with warm water afterwards. I deliberately lingered under the shower, perfecting my muscle relaxation after since two day before I had to chase with time doing lots of survey agendas exploring Solo City.

After more than half an hour of bathing, I immediately cleaned up, tidied up my bag and prepared myself for my third day of survey. On exactly seven in the morning, I was at hotel’s restaurant for breakfast. While Rahadian, my Vice Chair of Marketing Conference, had been in the restaurant since half an hour ago. He leaned closer to my dining table when I ate fried rice combined with mendoan*1 and hot coffee. We chatted and discussed about the last survey that day.

After thirty minutes in enjoying a variety of restaurant menu, Rahadian and I started ordering an online taxi for heading east to Baluwarti area. That morning the official palace belonging to Surakarta Sunanate became the first survey destination on my third day in Solo. Shortly waiting in the lobby, a black Toyota Agya came to pick us up. I immediately got into front seat and Rahadian at back, then that online taxi started went for two kilometers in ten minutes to reach the destination.

The palace building was 277 years old.

Fifteen minutes before eight o’clock, I arrived at Surakarta Hadiningrat Palace. That day, I planned to shorten our survey time because Rahadian would come home early by catching Lodaya train departure to Bandung at 13:00 hours. Therefore, I went to palace when its operating hours weren’t yet opened.

Rahadian and I enjoyed palace frontyard which also functioned as a one-way traffic lane. But there was one part of palace building which really stole our attention, i.e a thirty meter high tower which was visible from palace frontyard. That was Sanggabuwana Tower which was founded 38 years after palace building was built. It could be guessed that this tower functioned as a watchtower because this palace was founded during Dutch colonialism era.

But it was said that the tower was also used to meet Nyi Roro Kidul*2 “The Queen of South Sea” by Sri Susuhan Pakubuwono III.

Like an city planning of the ancient kingdom era, Surakarta Hadiningrat Palace was flanked by square, i.e Alun-Alun Lor (North Square) and Alun-Alun Kidul (South Square). Alur-Alur Lor was a busier square, this was where the “Sekatenan” (Night Market) was held to commemorate the Prophet Muhammad’s Birthday every year.

So to explore area around the palace, I started to continue my journey to Alun-Alun Lor by walking. Alun-Alun Lor was no more than half a kilometer from palace and could be reached by walking in ten minutes.

What were destinations around Alun-Alun Lor?

Note:

Mendoan*1  is a type of fried food that comes from the residency of Banyumas, Central Java, Indonesia

Nyi Roro Kidul*2 is an Indonesian goddess of the sea. She is the Queen of the Southern Sea (Indian Ocean) in Sundanese and Javanese mythology

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