As power in Central Java deslinedin the l0th century, powerful kingdoms rose in East Java to fill the power vacuum. During the reign of King Erlangga both East Java and Bali enjoyed lucrative trade with the surrounding islands, and an artistic and intellectual renaissance. Parts of the Mahabarata epic were translated and re-interprented to comform to an East Javanese philosophy and view of live, and it was from this era that East Java inherited much of its temple art.
Today the open-air amphitheater at Pandaan performances tell some of the stories of this glorious past, set against an impressive back-drop of distant volcanoes, capturing the spirit of the province's culture and scnery. East Java's claim to fame in modern history is its vabguard role in the struggle for independence against colonial forces in 1945.
Little of the Majapahit Empire's former glory still stands in East Java has a variety of attractions, ranging from temple sites to unspoiled beaches, stunning volcanoes, extraordinary highland lakes, resplendent marine parks and fantastic wildife reserves. Magnificent mountain scenery includes the crater and legendary sea of sand at Mount Bromo, The "sulphur mountain" of Welirang and the rugged Ijen Planteau. The island of Madura famous for its bull races, is also part of the province and has its own traditional, culture and language.
The provincial capital, Surabaya is second in size, population, and commerce only to Jakarta. It is also the most industrialized province in the nation with a strong economy based on agriculture, (coffee, mangoes, and apples), fisheries and oil.
The province is efficiently connected to the rest of Java by good roads, regular trains, and air services between Surabaya and other major cities in the country including Denpasar on bali, which is only half an your's flight away.