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Indonesia's cultural heart escapes worst of quake YOGYAKARTA - Indonesia's weekend earthquake shook the country's ancient Javanese royal capital, but left little damage in the cultural and educational hub that has endured both man-made and natural disasters before. Yogyakarta, a city of half a million long ruled by descendants of the Indonesian royal family and home to a centuries-old palace, was woken by the magnitude 6.3 quake at dawn on Saturday.

But just hours later it was clear the former capital had escaped relatively unscathed: the tremor, centered offshore in the Indian Ocean, left only a few city homes in ruins. The Bantul area of Yogyakarta province, 20 km (12 miles) south of the city, bore the brunt of the quake, with scores of villages reduced to rubble, thousands of people killed and many more injured.

"Only 10 percent of Yogyakarta city was affected, including the palace, which only suffered little damage. The most affected areas are outside," said Provincial Secretary Bambang Susanto Priyohadi. A palace official, Gusti Hadi, said one pavilion housing several treasures, including traditional musical instruments and a carriage used by Yogyakarta's first sultan, had been destroyed.

The palace was built in 1755 by an Indonesian prince who gave himself the title sultan. His descendants have continued to rule the province, now a self-governing district answerable to the modern capital, Jakarta, 440 km (270 miles) to the west.

Rebel stronghold

Yogyakarta was the center for rebel forces fighting against Dutch rule shortly before Indonesia gained independence in 1949 and is overlooked by nearby Mount Merapi, a volcano which has claimed thousands of lives in eruptions over the centuries. The charm of the ancient city lingers, shrouded in a mystic atmosphere where many Muslims mix religion with traditional Javanese spiritualism.

Telephone lines, electricity cables and cable networks have already been restored across the city, and most schools and many shops were open on Monday. The speed of the city's recovery astounded Aulia Astagina, who was forced to flee her home by the quake and missed her university graduation ceremony after it went ahead as planned on Saturday, just hours after the disaster. "I cannot believe that they went through with it," she said.

Astagina's house in the Bantul area was undamaged, but two of her neighbours were killed. Many foreigners head for Yogyakarta to experience traditional Indonesian life and learn the national language, although residents in fact prefer to speak in Javanese. Students from across Indonesia come to study at one of Yogyakarta's many universities. Many of them were seen helping at hospitals, aid collection depots and in the Bantul area just hours after the quake.

"I am very sure Yogyakarta's cultural weight will stand through this challenge. City residents have recovered quickly and they are more than willing to help," said Priyohadi.


Link to related event Related event:
Java shaken by quake

Related blog entries (category 'Earthquake') Related blog entries (category 'Earthquake'):
30 May 2006 · Indonesia quake death toll at 5,427
30 May 2006 · Hopes wane for Java quake survivors
29 May 2006 · Desperate quake victims await aid
29 May 2006 · Expert: Indonesia quake may trigger Merapi eruption
29 May 2006 · Supplies arrive in Javanese quake zone


Posted in Earthquake @ 30 May 2006 07:04 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink

indahnesia.com lists all earthquakes that occur in Indonesia. For your convenience we display them in a list and a Google Map. It is as accurate and recent as you can imagine as we check for updates every few minutes. If an earthquake occurs in Indonesia, this is the place to check it out in the first place.






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