Yogyakarta or simply Yogya, is one of the foremost cultural centers of Java. 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 inherited the best 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 division of Mataram into the Sultanates of Yogyakarta and Surakarta (Solo). Gamelan, classical and contemporary Javanese dances, the wayang kulit leather puppet theater and other expressions of traditional art will keep the visitor spellbound. Local craftsmen excel in the arts of batiks, silver and leather work. The Sultan's palace is the hub of Yogya's traditional life and despite the advance of modernity, it still emanates the spirit of refinement which has been the hallmark of Yogya's art for centuries. 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 Yogya 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.
Yogya is often called the main gateway to the center of Java 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.