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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Joanna James Joanna James
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Top 5 Things to Do in Solo - Explore the Cultural Centre of Java

The Javanese city of Solo, is one of the least westernised spots on the island, making it the perfect location to truly discover Javanese culture and traditions. Here are a few places to see in Solo.


Kraton Surakarta

Once the centre of the Javanese empire, today, Kraton Surakarta is only a shadow of what it used to be. This royal palace is one of the residences of the Sultan of Java, however, much of its beauty has fallen into decay. Much of the complex was destroyed during a fire in 1985, and while some of the inner buildings were rebuilt, they have been neglected over the years. The main attraction for visitors is the museum inside which displays an assortment of silver Javanese figures, antiques, weaponry, and royal heirlooms. There's also a massive collection of horse carriages, however termites seem to be an issue here.


Istana Mangkunegaran

Dating back to 1757, the Istana Mangkunegaran, is another royal palace, worth seeing. In the centre of the complex is a pavilion, built using a combination of Javanese and European architectural styles. The intricately decorated high ceiling, was painted in 1937 and displays a central flame surrounded the the symbols of the Javanese zodiac - each one painted with a mystical colour. These colours are said to provide protection against several things such as wicked thoughts, disease, lust, evil and many more. Behind the pavilion is the royal residence which holds the palace museum. The exhibits are beautiful, with several gold-plated dresses on display, along with a stunning mask collection, jewellery, and other fine pieces. A guide is mandatory, but totally worthwhile for the museum.


House of Danar Hadi

Of all the things to do in Solo, Indonesia, you can't miss seeing the House of Danar Hadi. Javanese batik is some of the most sought-after in the world, and the Danar Hadi batik museum showcases some of the very best designs, that include antiques and royal textiles from Java and China. The museum is located inside a gorgeous whitewashed colonial building, and entry includes a guided tour (in English), which details the history of some of their most famous pieces. In addition, there's also a batik workshop where you can watch the master craftsman at work as they create new batik designs, plus you can buy a few pieces as well at the shop.


Nasi Liwet Wongso Lemu

Before you retire to your Solo hotel, like the Alila Solo, after a long day of exploring the city - head over to Nasi Liwet Wongso Lemuand get a taste of sumptuous Solo street food. This stall is famous in the city for its 'nasi liwet' - a coconut flavoured rice, served on a banana leaf, and topped with shredded chicken, egg, tofu cooked in turmeric and special seasonings. Tables are setup on the evenings, and there's usually an assortment of pickled vegetables and chicken feet on offer as well.


Pasar Triwindu

The city's flea market is the best place to search for bargain deals. You may even find a few surprising items like old batiks in pristine condition, local puppets, vinyls, and vintage cameras.

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