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Last Updated: Sunday, 28 May 2006, 12:38 GMT 13:38 UK
Yogyakarta: A city rich in culture
Borobudur temple, near Yogyakarta
Tourists who climb Borobudur temple are afforded stunning views
The city of Yogyakarta is one of Indonesia's most important - rich in history and culture and a major tourist attraction.

The ancient royal capital lies in south-central Java, about 440km (275 miles) south-east of Jakarta, and is one of Indonesia's largest cities.

Visitors flock to sample its culture and visit two great religious monuments within 30km of the city itself.

The Buddhist temple of Borobudur, a Unesco world heritage site, is arguably the jewel in the province's crown, and was undamaged by Saturday's quake.

Built in the 9th century, the impressive stone structure measuring 34.5 metres (113 feet) is South East Asia's largest Buddhist monument, but was hidden for centuries under layers of volcanic ash from the nearby Mount Merapi volcano.

It was rediscovered in 1814 by British colonial administrator Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, and after a restoration programme in the 1970s and 1980s, it has become both a major centre of Buddhist pilgrimage and a key tourist attraction.

Nearby on the Prambanan plain is the Prambanan Hindu temple. Comprising about 250 separate temples, the complex - also dating back to the 9th century - is the largest temple complex in Java.

The temple complex, also listed by Unesco as a world heritage site, was damaged by the quake.

Stone walls and columns were toppled by the quake's action, although the main structures of the temples appear to have remained intact.

Experts said the site would need to be closed for some time to assess whether their foundations have been affected.

In the centre of Yogyakarta city, the Sultan's Palace and the adjacent water castle also attract crowds of visitors.

The Sultan's Palace was founded in 1755 by Prince Mangkubumi, and is surrounded by a densely-populated neighbourhood.

According to the AFP agency, one of the palace's pavillions collapsed during the quake, and cracks had been found in several other buildings.

Theatre and music

Yogyakarta city is home to about 1.5 million people, while the province - the only Indonesian province still formally ruled by a pre-colonial sultanate - has a population of about three million.

Indonesian students from the Jakarta Art Institute perform Javanese classical dance
Yogyakarta is well known for its traditional arts

The city, which is divided into 14 districts, is well known for its rich culture, including its leather shadow puppets - or Wayang Kulit, traditional gamelan music, and dance.

It is also an important centre of contemporary art, and a school of Indonesian modern painting is named after the city.

Silver and leather work and batik are among the specialities of Yogyakarta craftsmen.




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