On Friday, March 8, 2019, upper class students had an opportunity to visit the Yogyakarta Presidential Palace, or infamously known by local people as “Gedung Agung”. In the morning we came to the palace at around 8.30 A.M. The security team welcome us warmly. They directed us to enter the building for scanning every visitor. We were not allowed to bring bag, water, food inside the palace; only phone and wallet were allowed. We also could not take picture freely. We were only able to take pictures in certain areas.
After scanning, we went to the main building. Mr. Nurhadi, our guide for that day, was already waiting for us. He explained about the history of the building. It was originally built for administration office for the Dutch. However, after Indonesia had its freedom, this building became one of presidential palace in Indonesia. The building itself is 187 years old.
As a presidential palace, Gedung Agung has welcomed many countries’ leaders around the world, such as Queen Elizabeth II from UK (in 1974), Japanese emperor Akihito ( in 1989), the sovereign of Vatican city state, Pope John Paul II ( in 1991), etc. It also has a number of important rooms to hold official state events. In Main Building, there is Garuda room as the main room for holding official state events. It was in this room that General Sudirman was inaugurated to be the “Panglima Besar TNI” of Indonesian Army on June 3, 1947, followed by his inauguration to be the top leader of Republic of Indonesia’s army on July 3, 1947.
Beside the main part of the palace where the president, vice president, and their families stay when they are in Yogyakarta, the palace also has new buildings for different purposes. There is also a museum that keeps various souvenirs from various countries, and art works such as painting and sculptures from respected Indonesian artists. One of Raden Saleh’s work, “Berburu Banteng” is kept here along with Basuki Abdullah’s “Nyai Roro Kidul” and Affandi’s “Laskar Rakyat Mengatur Strategi”.
Off from the museum, we move to the huge front yard in front of the main building. There are many artefacts from ancient Javanese kingdoms displayed on the grassy yard. One of them is a 3,5 m-tall andesitic stone monument called Dagoba. That was our touring activity in Gedung Agung. We also had a worksheet to do related to our minitrip activity. After our activity was done, we thank Mr.Nurhadi for being such an informative guide then we went back to the scanning building to take our belongings and went back to school. We spent 2,5 hours on our visit there and it was fun. Hopefully we can have opportunities to visit other Indonesian Presidential Palaces someday. ☺