Museums of Yogyakarta: Central Java

The majority of visitors to Yogyakarta tend to only see the major tourist attractions of Borobudur, Prambanan Complex, the Kraton and Kota Gede.

After a bit of shopping on Jalan Malioboro they depart. However there are many more treasures in Yogyakarta besides those mentioned above. Yogyakarta has some excellent museums.

Most of the museums are within easily reached because most of them are located within the city or just outside the city centre.


This is probably the most complete museum in Indonesia besides that of the National Museum in Jakarta. It has various collections of antique relics and other cultural and historical items. There are Neolithic earthenware, 8th and 9th Century statues, utensils and other things made from bronze.

The Sonobudoyo Museum also houses an excellent collection of wayang puppets, topeng and Javanese musical instruments. The museum also houses an excellent collection of Balinese relics and has a unique collection of books on Javanese culture.

Located on the north side of the Alun-alun, it was originally built in 1935 and is a perfect example of Javanese architecture.

Interestingly the main gates are similar to those of the Kudus Mosque in Kudus, a small town east of Semarang in the north of Java. The gates connect the Pendhopo (the main hall) to the Joglo Induk (the main building without walls).


This museum was the former home of Prince Diponegoro, a noble from Ngayogyokarto Hadiningrat who bravely opposed the Dutch between 1825-1830.

The building still has the traditional Javanese atmosphere. The interior has been restored and many kinds of weapons are on display as well as items formerly used by Prince Diponegoro, his family and his faithful followers.

The museum is located north-west of the heart of the city on Jalan HOS Cokroaminoto.


The museum was the former home of General Sudirman, the first General of the Indonesian Army. It keeps various weapons used in the struggle against the Dutch colonial during the physical revolution after World War II. Some of these weapons are rifles made in Indonesia and which were used to fight against the Dutch during the colonial rule.

The museum also houses several items formerly used by General Sudirman such as a litter that was used to carry him around during the guerrilla war. The museum is located in Bintaran Yogyakarta.


This is an attractive grandstand which lies on the banks of the Gajah Wong River on Jalan Adiscupito, six kilometres from the centre of Yogyakarta. It is the home of a great Indonesian artist of international fame, Affandi (1907-1990).

Next to his house one can see a building with very unique architecture and designed like a slice of watermelon. This building is the private museum of Affandi which houses a collection of his finest artworks and also that of his daughter, Kartika.

Affandi has received many honorary awards from numerous countries. On August 14th 1974, he was awarded Doctor Honoris Causa by the University of Singapore. He is buried in the grounds next to the museum.


Dewantara Kirti Griya was the former home of Ki Hajar Dewantoro, the founder of the ‘Taman Siswa‘ Institute. Taman Siswa is the oldest national educational institute in Indonesia and established in 1932. Ki Hajar Dewantoro was both an educator and a fervent patriot fighting for independence. He was a close friend of Rabindranath Tagore, an educational figure from India.

The style of the building, the carvings, the reliefs and the very attractive statues bring the image of harmony and astonishing impression of Indonesian cultural artwork.


The museum is located on Jalan Sultan Agung. It is a part of the Faculty of Biology at the Gajah Mada University as a means of education. It is particularly related to knowledge of the flora and fauna found in Indonesia. It is equipped with a diorama setting depicting the life of the animals in Indonesia and their habitat. Among these animals is the Komodo Dragon, the biggest lizard in the world and lives on Komodo island.


On the northern ring road in Yogyakarta, the Yogya Kembali Monument was established to commemorate the refunctioning of Yogyakarta as the capital of the Republic of Indonesia on July 6th 1966.

The thirty-one meter high monument, symbolising a mountain of heaven, lies on an axis running from the Sultan’s Palace to the north through the Tugu Monument at the end of Jalan Malioboro to Yogya Kembali Monument, ending at the top of Gunung Merapi.

Yogya Kembali Monument has three floors. The first floor consists of a museum, a library, an auditorium and a cafeteria. On the second floor there are ten dioramas depicting the highlight of Yogyakarta’s struggle to reoccupy the capital of the Republic of Indonesia from the Dutch Colonial powers from December 1948 until July 1949.

On the balustrade there are forty reliefs depicting the history of the Indonesian people’s struggle for their independence on August 17th 1945 until the international recognition of the new-born Republic on December 27th 1949. The main article of this floor is the red and white national flag.

Outside the main building is a vast plaza for staging ceremonies and a wall with inscriptions of more than 400 names of Indonesian heroes. The monument is conveniently located on the way to the Borobudur Temple.