Kota Gede

Gateway to tomb
Gateway to the grave of Java's first Sultan.

What is now the Kota Gede district of Yogyakarta is in fact the original capital of the Mataram kingdom, the great sixteenth century Muslim kingdom which held sway over most of Java, until the Dutch arrived. The city was founded by the first sultan of Mataram, Panembahan Senopati, in 1582. Not much of the old capital remains, but Senopati is buried in the graveyard of a very old mosque deep in the small back alleys of the old city.

The mosque is rather interesting, as it reflects a Javan style just beginning to be adapted to Islam. Gates have roofs in the same stacked meru style of Hindu temples, and you can even find depictions of the Hindu god Kali around the graveyard.

The small streets and alleys around the mosque and graveyard can be quite charming to walk around in. There's a slower pace to life here despite the modern times.

Today, the Kota Gede area is better known for its many silver shops. You don't have to go far from the graveyard of the first sultan to find a large silver factory. These can be quite nice, but the prices are not as good as Bali.