The Jakarta Post
Kampung Mural on Jl. Gatot Subroto in Surakarta. (JP/Ganug Nugroho Adi)
At least nine kampung are currently being developed by the Surakarta administration in Central Java to be turned into new tourist destinations.
Among the concepts planned for the thematic kampung program are history, art, ecotourism, gems and batik. Meanwhile, the nine kampung involved are Kampung Mural Joho in Manahan, Kampung Sayur in Mojosongo, Kampung Batik Kauman, Kampung Batik Laweyan, Kampung Ekowisata in Bumi subdistrict, Kampung Blangkon in Serengan, Kampung Permata in Jayengan, Kampung Kepatihan and Kampung Kemlayan.
"We will kick off this urban tourism program with the Urban Kampung Tourism Festival in mid-March, where visitors will be able to explore the different kampung," Surakarta Tourism Agency head Basuki Anggoro Hexa told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.
Kampung Kemlayan, he added, is of particular historical significance as it once served as a home to gamelan (traditional Javanese orchestra) artisans during the era of King Surakarta Pakubuwono X. It was also known as a center of music and dance.
"Meanwhile, we also want to introduce Kampung Kepatihan as one of the centers of administration, besides the Kraton Kasunanan Surakarta area. The officials of the palace, including the patih [governor], used to live there," he added.
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Kampung Batik Laweyan in Surakarta, Central Java. (JP/Ganug Nugroho Adi)
Both kampung are said to still house historical buildings and items. A mini museum is currently being prepared by the Surakarta Tourism Agency to be added to the kampungs' tourism program.
"The city administration will serve as a facilitator; all the [destinations] will be managed by local residents. We held several workshops for tourist guides, handicrafts and tourism management last year," Basuki said.
This new tourism concept of blusukan kampung (exploring kampung) aims to boost the local economy as it offers both historical values and art performances, like contemporary ketoprak (traditional Javanese theater), wayang orang (human puppet show) and traditional handicrafts.
"Surakarta doesn't only have beautiful landscapes; we also want to offer cultural, historical and art destinations. Kampung Batik Kauman and Laweyan, for example, have succeeded in attracting tourists," said Basuki.
Tourism official Fafa Utami said that the various kampung in Surakarta have tremendous tourism potential, but only Kampung Batik Kauman and Laweyan are currently well-developed.
"The interest of tourists continues to grow. They no longer seek to visit mountains or beaches; they now long for traditional, art and cultural tourism, and places that are developed creatively," Fafa said. (kes)