| F. X. Hadi Rudyatmo|
| Sebelas Maret University, Muhammadiyah University of Surakarta|
Surakarta (Hanacaraka: , often called Solo and less commonly Sala) is a city in Central Java, Indonesia of more than 520,061 people (2009) with a population density of 11,811.5 people/km2. The 44 km2 city adjoins Karanganyar Regency and Boyolali Regency to the north, Karanganyar Regency and Sukoharjo Regency to the east and west, and Sukoharjo Regency to the south. On the eastern side of Solo lies Solo River (Bengawan Solo). The city is the seat of Surakarta Sunanate kraton (palace/court). Together with Yogyakarta, Surakarta is the heir of the Mataram Kingdom that was split into two kingdoms in 1755.
Surakarta is the birthplace of the current president of Indonesia, Joko Widodo. He led as mayor of Surakarta from 2005 to 2012.
Surakarta is also widely known by the name "Solo". "Surakarta" is used in formal and official contexts. The city has a similar name to the neighboring district of "Kartasura", where the previous capital of Mataram was located. The Dutch name "Soerakarta" influenced the Indonesian spelling "Soerakarta" in use before the 1948 spelling reform.
Its ruling family lay claim to being the heirs to the Mataram dynasty. Like Yogyakarta, Solo has two royal palaces.
Surakarta is a lowland lying on flat terrain 105 m above sea level (in the city center about 95 m above sea level), with an area of 44.1 km2 (0.14% of the area of Central Java). It is approximately 65 km (40 mi) northeast of Yogyakarta and 100 km (62 mi) southeast of Semarang. The eastern part of the town is bordered by Bengawan Solo River, the longest river on Java. The river is the inspiration for the song "Bengawan Solo", a 1940s composition by Gesang Martohartono which became famous throughout much of Asia. The citys soil is fertile because of the river and its tributaries.
The city is surrounded by Merbabu and Mount Merapi (3,151 m high) to the west and Mount Lawu (3265 m high) to the east. The Sewu Mountain Range lies further south. Nearby is also the infamous Mount Kemukus (also known as Sex Mountain).
One main tourist attraction of Surakarta is the Keraton Surakarta, the palace of Susuhunan Pakubuwono, also the Princely Javanese court of Mangkunegaran. Pasar Gede market is often visited by tourists, mostly for its unique architecture and fame as the biggest traditional market in the Solo area. The Pasar Klewer is famous for its batiks in all prices and qualities, while the Pasar Triwindhu located near Mangkunegaran palace specializes in antiques. Taman Sriwedari is a popular local entertainment park featuring a childrens playground, dangdut music performance, and Wayang Wong traditional Javanese dance performance almost every night. Near the park is Radyapustaka Museum, one of the oldest museums in Indonesia, with a collection of Javanese cultural artifacts. The traditional batik village of Laweyan and Kampung Batik Kauman, located in the southwest part of the city and the city center respectively, are famous for producing fine quality Javanese batik.
Surakarta is located 60 km from Yogyakarta and shares many tourism spots with it. Candi Borobudur, Candi Prambanan, Candi Ratu Boko, Candi Kalasan, and many other Candi or ancient temples are historical tourist sights. Surakarta is located much closer to Candi Cetho and Candi Sukuh on the slopes of Mount Lawu. The mountainous area of Tawangmangu, featuring Grojogan Sewu waterfall on the slope of Mount Lawu, is also a popular destination for tourists.
A modern museum and visitors centre is at the important Sangiran archeology site around 15 km north of Surakarta near the main road north out of Surakarta to Purwodadi.
Within Surakarta tourists can also use the Jaladara old steam train which was launched on in September 2009 for 5.6 km connecting Purwosari Station and City (Sangkrah) Station. In 2011 there were 60 trips and in 2012 will be 80 trips.
Accommodation is widely available from small lodgings to international chain hotels.
Surakarta together with Yogyakarta is well known as the cultural heartland of Java. As the centre of surviving Javanese court (kraton), Surakarta is famous for its refined, highly polished aesthetic, and sophisticated Javanese art. The Kraton served as an important center dedicated for the preservation of Javanese culture. Several important traditional Javanese ceremonies such as Satu Suro and Sekaten rituals were observed in high importance among its people. The Sunan (king) of Surakarta, although today no longer holds official actual political power, is still revered and holds important position as cultural symbol among Javanese people.
Food associated with Surakarta includes Nasi Liwet, Nasi Timlo, Tongseng, Serabi, Sate buntel, Intip, Roti Mandarin, and Bakpia Balong. Gudeg Solo is also different with Gudeg Yogyakarta, Gudeg Solo is more soupy and rich with thick coconut milk, while gudeg Yogya is dryer and have reddish color from the addition of teak leaf.