Places of Interest in Solo, Java Island

Surakarta or more famous as Solo is lying across in fertile plain
terrain along the longest river in Java, Bengawan or River Solo. Flanked
by mountain volcanoes Merapi and Merbabu in the north, and mount Lawu
in the southeast border, is famous as a stronghold and center of
Javanese culture and tradition. Surakarta, is the cradle of Javanese
culture, with two royal houses in one single city: the Kraton of Solo
and the Mangkunegaran, a principality. Descendants of these two royal
houses are still considered leaders of Javanese culture and traditions.
Majestic ceremonies and royal festivals are still held with great
affectation nowadays. Surakarta or Solo (550000 inhabitants) draws its
name from the longest river of Java, which passes in this city. It was
the capital of the kingdom of Mataram from 1745 to 1755. There are many
Becak (rickshaws decorated with naive scenes) croos the city.

Solo offers an incredible list of eateries also popular far
beyond the city. Solo today remains a distinctly Central Javanese with
an elegance all its own. It is one of the centers of batik and other
Javanese fabrics, and souvenir hunters may find exquisite 'objects
d'art" and ornate trinkets in the local markets. Those interested in
old, Javanese culture and art should not miss Solo. Solo is called the
city that never sleeps. From the evening throughout the whole night one
can always find something to eat or buy, as vendors of all kinds as well
as small food-stalls remain active and open 24 hours. Home of two royal
houses with centuries of power and influence over the city. There are
nice inns and hotels in Selo for accommodation. This place was a famous
holiday resort of Surakarta Royal Families.

Solo is Surakarta's commercial as well as its administrative
center, and produce from the surrounding desa fills the markets every
day. Solo produces cigarettes, herbal medicines and various other light
industry products, but batik is far and away the most important
manufacturing activity in the city. Batik is a traditional textile
working process involving the use of wax to cover the cloth in patterns
and thus control the areas affected by dying. In the traditional
process, batik tulis ("written batik") hot wax is applied with
incredible patience and skill with an instrument that looks like a pipe
but is used like a pen. The women and girls sit circled around an
often-smoky little burner that heats the wax.

Many of the larger houses participate in the batik industry,
with an area set aside for a covey of from 10 to 30 women and girls, who
usually come from the village (desa). Really skilled workers are
generally old, and the present level of batik production is not likely
to continue in economically developing Java as alternative, less
demanding activities absorb more of this cheap labor.

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