Yogyakarta Special Region (Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta, DIY) is officially one of Indonesia's 32 provinces. Yogyakarta is one of the foremost cultural centers of Java. This region is located at the foot of the active Merapi volcano, Yogyakarta was in the 16th and 17th centuries the seat of the mighty Javanese empire of Mataram from which present day Yogyakarta has the best inherited of traditions. The city itself has a special charm, which seldom fails to captivate the visitor. This province is one of the most densely populated areas of Indonesia. The city came into being in 1755, after the Mataram division into the Sultanates of Yogyakarta and Surakarta (Solo). Gamelan, classical and contemporary Javanese dances, wayang kulit (leather puppet), theater and other expressions of traditional art will keep the visitor spellbound. Local craftsmen excel in arts such batiks, silver and leather works. Next to the traditional, contemporary art has found fertile soil in Yogya's culture oriented society. ASRI, the Academy of Fine Arts is the center of arts and Yogyakarta itself has given its name to an important school of modern painting in Indonesia, perhaps best personified by the famed Indonesian impressionist, the late Affandi.
Yogyakarta is often called the main gateway to the Central Java as where it is geographically located. It stretches from Mount Merapi to the Indian Ocean. There is daily air service to Yogya from Jakarta, Surabaya and Bali as well as regular train service and easy accessibility by road. Yogyakarta is commonly considered as the modern cultural of Central Java. Although some may prefer Solo as a good runner up, Yogyakarta remains the clear front-runner for traditional dance, Wayang (traditional puppetry) and music. Yogyakarta has more than just culture though. It is a very lively city and a shopper's delight. The main road, Malioboro Street, is always crowded and famous for its night street food-culture and street vendors. Many tourist shops and cheap hotels are concentrated along this street or in the adjoining tourist area such Sosrowijayan Street.
Yogyakarta (some people call it Jogja, Jogjakarta, or Yogya) is a city with outstanding historical and cultural heritage. Yogyakarta was the centre of the Mataram Dynasty (1575-1640), and until now the kraton (the sultan's palace) exists in its real functions. Also, Yogyakarta has numerous thousand-year-old temples as inheritances of the great ancient kingdoms, such as Borobudur temple established in the ninth century by the dynasty of Syailendra.
More than the cultural heritages, Yogyakarta has beautiful natural panorama. The green rice fields cover the suburban areas with a background of the Merapi Mountain. The natural beaches can be easily found to the south of Yogyakarta.
Here the society lives in peace and has typical Javanese hospitality. Just try to go around the city by bike, pedicab, or horse cart; and you will find sincere smiles and warm greeting in every corner of the city.
An artistic atmosphere is deeply felt in Yogyakarta. Malioboro, as the center of Yogyakarta, is overwhelmed by handicraft from all around the city. Street musicians always ready entertain the visitors of the lesehan food stalls.