Monday, March 15, 2010

Permata Theatre

In around 1940s, a movie theatre named Permata was built in Yogyakarta. As the name implies, the theatre rally became the diamond for Jogja community, especially young people. Permata theatre did not only function as a place to see the movie, but it also function as a place for hanging around and doing various romantic things of the youth. The existence of the movie theatre could even change the name of the area from Jalan Sultan Agung to Permata area. The phenomenal Permata theatre by that time, especially the era of 60s to 70s, attracted all young people in Yogyakarta to have to come.

This movie theatre was a symbol of prestige for young people as café and mall are at present time. It was in this theatre as well that phenomenal Indonesian films such as Badai Pasti Berlalu of 70s version and Gita Cinta di SMA were on.
Nonetheless, time goes by, as the morning that will always turn to evening. It happens to Permata movie theatre of which triumph is decreasing, moving to the twilight of its business. The number of the employees was tens but only few left now. The branches located until Wonosobo city are ruining. Permata theatre is not famous for its good films anymore; instead, it is known as a movie theatre showing low-quality films.

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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Mataram Ditch

During Japanese colonization, many Indonesian people were sent to different regions to be employed as forced workers or romusha. They were forced to build various infrastructures to support the Japanese military to fight the Alliance. The people who served as romusha suffered so much; they did not get enough food and they were treated so severely that many of them died. This made Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono IX - the former king of Yogyakarta - felt a pity and tried to put the romusha away from Yogyakarta people.

He ordered the people to build an irrigation ditch as long as 30 kilometers from the Progo River to the Opak River, and objected to let his people to join the romusha by claiming that they still had to finish the project. The ditch was named Yoshiro Canal and up to now, it functions to irrigate teen-thousands hectares of rice field.
Going along the bank of this historical irrigation ditch on a motorcycle or a mountain bike promises a pleasant experience when it is done in October - May since from June to September this ditch is dried to cut off the contamination cycle.

The perfect start would be from the crossroad near the building of Magister Management of Gadjah Mada University on Kaliurang Road. There are two choices of routes from this point. We may choose to go westwards to meet the upper stream of Progo River in Ancol village of Magelang Regency. Otherwise, we may go along the Mataram ditch to the east direction that will end in Opak River in Kalasan.

Taru Martani Cigar Factory, the Legend of Cigar van Java

For tobacco lovers, it will be exciting to visit Taru Martani, the factory that has been producing cigars since 1918. You will feel like visiting your soul mate. If you don't like tobacco, at least you can learn the long history of this factory that supports many people. Taru Martani was initially built in Bulu area, at the side of Magelang Street, under the name of N.V. Negresco. Three years later, in 1921, the factory moved to the current location, Baciro, to the west of Mandala Krida Stadium in Yogyakarta. During the Japanese colonization, the name of the factory was changed to Java Tobacco Kojo. The factory was triumphant that time since it was supported by machineries to make light cigarettes that were brought in from B.A.T Cirebon. It's an easy procedure to complete before you are able to visit the factory. You only have to make an appointment with the factory management. When they give you permit, you can explore the 2-hectares factory guided by one of the employees. You can see directly and ask questions related to the cigar production. You don't have to incur expenses for this tour. The visit hours, however, are limited only on working hours, from Monday to Friday at 08:00a.m. to 02:00p.m. Entering this factory, you can enjoy the beauty of European architecture. Each parts of the building, both production and administration rooms are preserved as the original ones to that the nuance of European architecture is seen clearly until now. Even though the building has been tens years old, there is no frightening or dull impression; it even give dynamic impression. The production of cigar in this factory goes through some stages. At preparation stage, the dried tobacco leaves that were obtained from Besuki, Jember, East Java are taken out from the warehouse for dampening process for one night. The purpose is to make the tobacco leaves damp and do not crush when processed. The tobacco leaves are then sorted by its physical quality. Some of them are used as cigar filler, binder and wrapper.

The sorted tobacco is then prepared to make cigar cocoon in the next step. In this stage, the cigar is first wrapped with binder or dekblad and then with wrapper or dekblad. The uniqueness of the cigar making lies in this stage where skillful workers are able to produce relatively the same size of cigars by their hands. After this stage is completed, the rolled cigars are cut and sorted.
At the final stage of the production, the cigars go through fumigation, cooling, drying and fermentation processes in order to kill the tobacco germs. This stage is so important since the storage time of free-germs cigars will be longer and the taste lasts longer as well. After completion of this stage, cigars are labeled, wrapped and packed to be distributed to consumers. Taru Martani produces 14 brands of cigars, namely Cigarillos, Extra Cigarillos, Senioritas, Panatella, Half Corona, Corona, Super Corona/Grand Corona, Boheme, Royal Perfecto, Rothschild, and Churchill. For its variations, Taru Martani produces three kinds of cigars, namely nature cigar or pure tobacco, flavor cigars or tobacco added with flavors (mint, vanilla, rhum, hazelnut) and mild cigar.

Some legendary cigar brands are worth buying and tasting when you come. You should try Senator and Mundi Victor that have been produced since the foundation of this factory even though they were only labeled by those names in 1952. Other cigars you should try are Adipati, Ramayana and Borobudur that have been produced since 1970s. If you like minced tobacco, you can buy Van Nelle, Drum, and Countryman. Visiting Taru Martani and trying its products make you part of the international community of good quality cigar lovers. The reason is that the cigars produced by Taru Martani that are well known as Cigar van Java have been favored by people from all the world: Asia, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Czechoslovakia, America and Europe.

Friday, February 12, 2010


The Imogiri complex is separated into three parts, named Giriloyo, Banyusumurup and Imogiri. Traditionally it is accepted that Giriloyo was the earliest of the three graveyards. In some local folklore, Sultan Agung had commenced work on his own graveyard at Giriloyo - but because his uncle Juminah died at the graveyard, Agung was guided by various portents to choose his graveyard on a hill some three kilometres to the southwest, at Imogiri.[1] A later ruler, needing to bury outcasts in a graveyard separate from Giriloyo and Imogiri, chose Banyusumurup as an appropriate site. However it is possible to find rivals and enemies within Javanese royal families buried within metres of each other inside the walls of Imogiri.

Gondolayu Bridge

I think its a quite known bridge in Yogyakarta From this bridge you can see the beauty of Code River valley at night.. And it is close to the Tugu monument And there is a good culinary spot Where you can eat toasted bread and hot milk, while enjoying the night wind and seeing the valley with the little 'stars' from the houses below

Bintaran, Indische City of Yogyakarta

Similar to Kotabaru, Bintaran was an alternative dwelling place for Dutch people who lived in Indonesia. It grew when Loji Kecil area could not accommodate the inhabitants anymore. Physically, the area that you can reach by walking eastwards from Gondomanan crossroad did not grow as fast as Kotabaru. One of the factors was the location that is still close to Loji Kecil so that various facilities could be accessed easily.

Before becoming an Indische dwelling place, Bintaran was known as the place where Ndalem Mandara Giri functioning as the house of Prince Haryo Bintoro, one of Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat Kingdom descendants. The growth of Bintaran as an Indische dwelling place was predicted to begin in 1930s signed with construction of house, facilities such as church and even prison. Generally, Dutch people who lived in Bintaran were those working as officers and workers at sugar factory.

Bintaran was decorated with buildings in characteristic European-style architecture. Nonetheless, the characteristic of the buildings in Bintaran area is different from the characteristic of the buildings in Loji Kecil or Kotabaru. The yard of the house in Bintaran area is wider, while the verandah is smaller with many pillars; exterior window shutter is in the form of blind and the interior window leaf is decorated with glasses.

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Thursday, February 11, 2010


Beringharjo market becomes part of Malioboro that is worth visiting. This market has been center of economy activity since years ago and its existence has philosophical meaning. The market that had been renovated several times symbolizes stages of human life that is busily engaged in its economy fulfillment. Furthermore, Beringharjo is also one of the 'four in one' poles (consisting of South Square, Sultan Palace, North Square, and Beringharjo market) symbolizing economy functions. The area where current Beringharjo market lies used to be forest of banyan trees. Soon after the foundation of Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat Kingdom, i.e. in 1758, the area was used as a place for economy transaction by the people of Yogayarkta and its vicinities. Only hundreds years later, namely in 1925, the transaction place had a permanent building. The name 'Beringharjo' was given by Hamengku Buwono IX, meaning that the place where banyan tree (bering) used to grow is expected to bring welfare (harjo). Now, tourists define this place as an enjoyable shopping place.

The front part and the western part of the market are the right places to find delicious traditional snacks. At the north side of the front part, you will find round brem (a kind of snack made from the extract of fermented tubers) that is softer than that of Madiun city and krasikan (sweet cake made from glutinous rice and palm sugar). In the south part, you will find bakpia cake filled with mung bean that is sold warm and wet snacks such as hung kwe and nagasari. Meanwhile, at the back part, usually they sell durable snacks such as ting-ting made of caramel mixed with peanut. If you want to buy batik, Beringharjo is the best place because of its complete collections; ranging from batik cloth to batik clothes made of both cotton and silk materials, with the prices ranging from tens thousands to a million. Collection of batik cloth is available in west and north parts of the market, while batik clothes collection is available almost everywhere in the west part of this market. In addition to batik clothes, the west part of the market also offers traditional clothes: surjan, blangkon, and sarong both woven and batik printed ones. Sandals and bags sold at reasonable prices are available around the escalator of the west part of the market. Stepping upstairs to the second floor, you will smell the aroma of Javanese herbs. Herbs such as turmeric that is usually blended with tamarind to produce special drink and temulawak to make bitter drink for medication purpose are sold here. Spices such as ginger (to make ronde drink or merely to be baked, boiled and mixed with crystal sugar) and cinnamon (to enrich the flavors of such drinks as ginger drink, coffee, tea and sometimes to substitute chocolate in cappuccino).

This is also the right market to hunt antiques. The center of antique goods is in east part of the third floor. There, you can get old typewriter, helmet made in 1960s with the front part of which is mica as high as one's nose and some other items. On the same floor, you can get used items of good quality if you want. Various kinds of good quality used imported goods such as shoes, bag, and even clothes are sold at much cheaper prices compared to the original prices. Of course, carefulness in choosing is needed. After completing your going around in the market, it is time for you to explore the area around the market with not less interesting offers. The area at the north of the market that used to be popular as Chinese Kampong is the most popular place. You can find oldies cassettes of musicians in 1950s that are rarely found in other places at the most expensive price of 50,000 Rupiah. Besides, there are Buddha effigies in different poses costing 250,000 Rupiah. For collectors of old money, they can get the ones from various countries, even the ones utilized in 1930s.To quench your thirst, special cold drink of Yogyakarta, namely cendol ice, is the right choice. This cold drink from Yogyakarta has richer flavor than the ones from Banjarnegara and Bandung. The contents are not only cendol (jelly-like substance made from glutinous rice but also cam cau (jelly-like substance made from cam cau leaves). Other drinks you can try are young coconut ice with palm sugar and the drink made from turmeric-tamarind and rice-great galingale mixtures. The price of the drink is cheap, namely 1,000 to 2,000 Rupiah.

Even though the market is closed at 05:00p.m, the dynamics of the merchants does not stop by that time. In front of the market, there are still many food sellers offering many kinds of special food. Martabak with various fillers, the sweet terang bulan mixed with chocolate and peanut, and the delicious klepon filled with palm sugar are sold every evening. At around 06:00p.m. until late at night, there is usually gudeg seller who also offers special cuisines of cow skin and variant of stir-fried vegetables with chili. While having your meals, you can listen to Javanese traditional music or have a talk with the seller who will address you friendly. It is just complete!