The Kratons Of Cirebon


On the glistening northern coast of West Java lies a port town with a rich past – Cirebon. Formerly referred to as Cheribon in English, the town was founded in 1478 and is the seat of a former sultanate – one of the earliest Islamic states established in Java. The sultan ruled from his kraton – a Javanese word for royal palace.

In  1677, the sultanate disintegrated into four royal houses, and each left their mark to this day through four kratons in Cirebon: Kraton Kasepuhan, Kraton Kanoman, Keraton Kacirebonan, and Keraton Keprabonan. Today, the Kraton Kanoman and Keraton Kasepuhan have been converted into museums and are opened to the public for visitation.

Kraton Kasepuhan
TYM-article-month5-indon-1Kraton Kasepuhan is the oldest of Cirebon’s kratons. Built in 1527, its architectural style is a blend of Sundanese, Javanese, Islamic, Chinese and Dutch, reflective of the town’s rich past as a trading port. The palace has a museum with a small display of wayang (hand puppets), kris, furniture, Portuguese armour, and ancient royal clothes.

Kraton Kanoman
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Founded by in 1677 by Sultan Anom, the Kraton Kanoman is known for the red-brick, Balinese style compound surrounding the main palace, and the massive banyan tree on the palace grounds.The walls of the compound feature squat split-gates topped with pyramidal peaks – and emblem of the Cirebon sultanate.

Keraton Kacirebonan
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Although not as grand as the two older kratons, this smaller palace is occupied by members of the current royal family. Built in 1839, the Keraton Kacirebonan features colonial architecture and houses a small collection of royal memorabilia.

Keraton Keprabonan
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This kraton was originally the residence of Prince Raja Adipati Keprabonan, the eldest son of Prince Kertawijaya, the founder of Pengguron Prabonan. The Indonesian government has recently approved the plans to restore all four keratons  in an effort to save the nation’s heritage from complete destruction. Restoration cost comes at approximately RP 70 Billion (approximately US$7.7 Million) as reported by The Jakarta Post.


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Author: Catrine Carpenter

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