The holy town of Demak located 24 km east of Semarang. It is a famous city for the spreading of Islam in Java. In the center of the town facing the Alun Alun (Square) is the famous Three-Tiered Grand Mosque built by the Wali Songo (nine Saints), this mosque considered very holy, so some believe that seven time visits to this palace equal to one visit to Mecca. The mosque combines the elements of Javanese Hindu and Islam.
One of the wali, SUNAN KALIJAGA was close to the founder of Mataram Kingdom. His grave is in Kadilangu, 2 km south of Demak. Many pilgrims visit and pray in front of his grave. Every Friday, except Friday Wage & Friday Legi (That's means three Fridays in a month), the mausoleum of Sunan Kalijaga is open for public. At that day the situation is just like fairs. Many vendors offering items related to the Religion.
In the Javanese month of Besar, in the 10th of month Besar, a Garebeg traditional ceremony is organized. (This year is on April 7, 1998). In the eve of the Garebeg, 9 rice cones (Tumpeng Sanga) are paraded from the regent office to the mosque, accompanied by 40 traditional Demak soldiers and a group of local dancers.
A recitation of the Holy Qur’an is organized. In the morning, the ceremony begins in the regent office by performing "Bedaya Tunggal Jiwo" classical dance. The "Minyak Jamas" (special oil solution for heirloom cleansing) is paraded in 2 Km procession to the house of Sunan Kalijaga family in Kadilangu village.
The chief of Sunan Kalijaga family cleans the heirlooms belonged to the Sunan such as:
- Keris - Kyai Crubuk
- Spear - Kyai Sirikan
- Shirt - Kotang Antakusuma
In the graveyard of Sunan Kalijaga. Ten thousands of people are eagerly watching the ceremony.
The town of Kudus, founded by one of the Walisongo, Sunan Kudus. It origins from Arabic Al Kudus means the Holy. It is located 55 km from Semarang.
The Al Aqsa Mosque is in center of the old town with its specific minaret. Combining the design of Javanese Hindu and Islam.
THE TOWN OF KRETEK CIGARETTES
|The people of Kudus prefer Satay of Buffalo until nowadays, cows are forbidden to be slaughtered in this town. In the courtyard, behind the mosque the tomb of Sunan Kudus imposed as a shrine.|
The biggest event here is on the 10th of Muharram of Islamic calendar, Buka Luwur, to change the curtains around the tomb. Thousand of pilgrims come to Kudus to watch this event.
This town is the birthplace of Kretek (clove) cigarettes. A Museum dedicated to Kretek Industry stands in the village of Getas Pejatan. The diaroma in the museum displays the process of Kretek making.
The short biography of NITISEMITO, the father of Kretek hangs on the hall.
It is touchy, he was one of the richest man in the country. He was promoted his kretek with big effort. In 1920 he hired planes to spread his leaflets!
Some strong Kretek factories now are : Djarum, Sukun, Djambu Bol, Nojorono etc.
Click here to get the article of Kretek
THE CARVING OF KUDUS
Next in the Kretek Museum stands the Rumah Adat (local style of a house) full with its fabulous carving.
TUGU INDENTITAS (Identity monuments) of 27m height styled after the Menara, can be climbed for vista of the town.
It is located in Bareng, making items from iron products such as Knives
Other items are embroidered women dresses, cloth etc.
This town is also exporting its garments. The garment factories are using modern machinery.
A Modern Printing and Packaging Company in Kudus from Pusaka Raya group is growing prosperously
It is a small hill resort 15 km north of Kudus. The tomb of Sunan Muria (one of the Walisongo, the son of Sunan Kalijaga is here). Every 16th of Muharram, the Buka Luwur, the change of the curtains is attended by thousand of pilgrims.
Is also in this 700 M hill resort
It is the well-known region of woodcarving since the ancient time. A lot of talented carvers born and live in Jepara, some are real artists, creating adorable masterpieces.
In this last decade, Jepara carving grow very fast. Many trucks containers going and coming to this town to collect and dispatch its products. Along the road of Tahunan, shops and producers displaying the wood carved furniture. Belakang Gunung is also a center of these products. Here the woodcarvers, the best in Java, working skillfully. The specific work of Jepara furniture, it does not use a nail, it is slotted and joined with wooden sticks.
'Harimau Kurung' means 'Tiger in Cage' is the famous traditional carving. It is made from one big jati (teak) wood. All the Jepara products are made from jati (teak) or mahagony woods. Many Jepara artists now work in Indonesian bigger cities, even abroad, such as in Japan, Europe, etc. Pak Suwardi is one of the artists who still live in his village of Belakang Gunung, where he teaches the younger generation.
The original Jepara carving style depicting the scenes of Javanese legend still does exist up to now. The carvers also make the products to meet the market demand in the home country and in the world market. They can produce perfectly every design ordered by the buyers. The Asmat style, the Middle East or Middle age European style.
CHODY ART GALLERY
Almost all tourist tours are brought here by their guide. This gallery is located nearby Kartini Beach. It is a pleasant and interesting workshop and display right on the coast.
The 44 years old man Pak Chody lives here with his family. He is one of the famous artists of Jepara. He makes an exclusive design, called by others as primitive pattern. His products have been sent worldwide. He welcomes all visitors with open heart.
A Recreation park on the north coast. The nice beach is in Panjang Island, one km offshore.
On the north side of Alun-alun displaying the furniture and photos of Kartini,s family. She was the daughter of Jepara Regent (born in 1879) and she is a National hero. Her letters published as Letters of Javanese Princess with title "THROUGH DARKNESS TO LIGHT".
Her popular words among other are : "Conditions both in my own surroundings and in those of others around me broke my heart .............................................."
The Small Towns around Jepara:
Other places of interest are:
- Mayong, the birthplace of R.A. Kartini.
- Mantingan, it is famous for the mosque and the tomb of Ratu Kalinyamat, another princess fighter from the 15th century. She led the fleet to attack the Portuguese in Malaka. (Kartini is also buried in this place). The mosque is second oldest in Java after Demak.
- Keling, Written in the history of ancient time, the Kingdom of Kalingga with its Queen Ratu Shima.
Special furniture from upside down root:
- Torso Village, producer of colored weaving with design of Sumba Island.
- Pecangaan, Producers of rings, bracelets, jewelry from monel, stainless steel
It is worth to note this special design of furniture with more than 1m of diameter, made from a whole root such as tables, chairs and statues.
The price of these products are naturally more expensive. Some adore them as highly carved art, others believe those roots as having fortune influence to the owners.
Hotel and accommodation :
As the city is busy now, some hotels are needed for accommodation:
Ambarawa is a small town with pleasant climate about 500 M above sea level. The surrounding is hilly green scenery planted with a lot of Klengkeng trees with their sweet small fruits. There are some buildings from the old time, well preserved until this date, such as the Roman Catholic Church and boarding Schools and an old Dutch fortress.
Monument of Palagan Ambarawa
Palagan means battle, it's a monument to commemorate the battle in Ambarawa to defend the newly born Republic.
Ambarawa Railway Museum
There are some locomotive from the old time, the oldest one ran for the first time in 1891. It's possible to arrange for special trip using the cog-railway from Ambarawa to Bedono village with 7 km distance.
Bandungan, a 1000 m hill resort with fresh and pleasant climate is located north of Ambarawa. It's an excellent site for relaxing and recreation. During holidays many Semarang crowd stay here in the many guest houses and small hotels.
10 Km from Ambarawa, there are 9 temples scattered on the slope of Ungaran mountain, date back to 8th century AD. The nature and the view in Gedung Songo are extremely beautiful, the climate is cool, fresh and sometime misty.
Relaxing and enjoying in this green mountainous vicinity should be a wonderful life experience.
A small pleasant town 325 m above sea level, located south of Semarang. In the vicinity, a nature reserve SUROLOYO with its Semiran waterfall is a fresh green environment.
There is a Dutch fortress dates back from 1786
It's a small town at the junction road from Semarang to Ambarawa or Semarang to Salatiga. It has a strategic position.
Located south east of Bawen on the road to Solo. This 600 m medium sized provincial town, lying on the slope of Merbabu has a hill station feel. The Satyawacana University is in the City. Near by the city, Rawapening tranquil lake with beautiful scenery is a popular picnic spot.
15 km from Salatiga on the slope of Merbabu it's a fine hill resort. Tuk Songo recreation park and a camping site are found in this vicinity with a 1500 m height, in the middle of vegetable and flower garden.
It's 9 km from Kopeng with its Klero Temple. The traditional ceremony Selikuran (the 21st day of month Ramadhan, fasting months) is a big event.
An old graveyard on the slope of Merbabu where some spiritual leaders of Pengging are buried , among other :
Ki Ageng Pantaran, Ki Ageng Mataram & Ki Ageng Kebo Kanigoro.
It's a favorite place for meditation. Goa (Cave) Dadungawuk was a place for spiritual exercise of Pengging leaders,
A small 500 m above sea level town located between Salatiga and Bawen, known with its Electric Power Plant.
(Suryo S. Negoro)