Roofless Warungboto Site

This is a site that has been recognized as one of Yogyakartan Cultural Heritage Buildings since 2010. From the hotel we stayed, in central city, it only takes about 10 minutes by foot to reach Warungboto Site. Right after you found Veteran Street, just ask a local, because the location is a bit confusing (for me). The visitor can enter the site from eastern gate.

My first impression seeing this place, unfortunately was, “Oh my God, what a messy site!” The ruins and garbages were everywhere, not to mention the brownish walls that looks dull and blackened by moss.

However, the main building is pretty unique and its rooms are comfortable to explore. As its name, Warungboto built from batu bata (bricks). The resting houses, pools, and gardens fence off this site.

History of Warungboto Site

Warungboto was built during the period of Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono I, the King of Java. Then, the building process had been continued by Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono II in 1785.

Becoming the crown prince (1765-1792), Hamengku Buwono II had started to build some resting houses for members of the kingdom, such as Pesanggrahan Rejawinangun (another name for Situs Warungboto), Purwareja, Pelem Sewu, and Reja Kusuma.

According the Chronicle of Momana and Rerenggan, the site had been built since 1711 saka year (or 1785 in common calendar). This was one of KGPAA Hamengku Buwono II’s masterpieces.

Sadly, for next decades, Warungboto has been neglected. It was even damaged by a tectonic earthquake in Yogyakarta during 2006. The Cultural Heritage Conservation Center (Balai Pelestarian Cagar Budaya) of Special Region of Yogyakarta then restored it in 2016. This restoration is based on the document of Historical and Archaeological Heritage Sanctuary of Yogyakarta in 1982 and some technical studies.

Warungboto Site has been re-opened for public since 2017. But the restoration is still going. So, what you see here is not the best shape of the site.

What’s in Warungboto Site

Actually, Warungboto Site looks like Taman Sari Yogyakarta. Never been there? Picture this: the wall is thick, the paths are exotics, there are curves in every parts of doors and windows. There are also two pools in the middle of the site. Not as wide as the pool at Taman Sari, though.

The first pool at Warungboto is circle-form with 4.5 meters diameter. The second is square-form, it’s about 10 x 4 meters. Both pools are connected each other.

Some locals said, the water was clear, flown from Gajahwong River. In 1990s, they called it Tuk Umbul, means “water that squirted up”. Many people used it for taking a bath.

But now, don’t try to take a bath here. Just don’t!

As a resting house (pesanggrahan), it is normal if there are pool, park, garden, and little mosque here. Although, I could not find two last facilities mentioned while visited the site.

Warungboto’s west part is the complex with rooms and a yard with terrace and poolbath. Its many stairs made me feel like being in an up-down artistique labyrinth. The stairs at the doors beside the pools bring us to the topside of the site.

There, a roofless room. On there, we can see Yogyakarta’s city view. Not so beautiful sight, though. Because all you can see is the mossy roof of citizens houses, roads, and… even cemetery!

But I think, it’s still worth. You stand on altitude, at top of a historical building. Just imagine, you were a sultan at that era, when there was no higher buildings as nowadays.

Maybe it’s gonna be gorgeous if we could be more patient to watch the sunset. Or watch the stars while lying on the floor? Maybe. But the fact is, we came there when it was raining. Damn!

Little Advice before You Go to Warungboto

First, when it’s rainy season, consider to prepare your umbrella or raincoat.

If it’s dry season, come in morning or afternoon. That way, you could avoid getting burnt by sunlight. But there could be many visitors during these hours.

Don’t like crowded places? You should come at noon. There might be far fewer tourists. Just don’t forget to wear your hat and smear your skin with sunblock.

It would be better if you use public transportation, motorbike, or by foot (like we did). Bring your own car is not recommended, because you would experience difficulty to find parking lot and to enter the place. Warungboto Site is located in the middle of the small kampung.

Last but no least, do not climb the wall, scribble it, or litter. That’s just not nice, and not smart at all.

Warungboto Site

  • Address: 77 Veteran Street, Warungboto, Umbulharjo, Yogyakarta City, Special Region of Yogyakarta Province 55164 (at west side of Gajahwong River)
  • Ticket price: Free (2018)
  • Open: Everyday at 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. local time

– Photos by Brahmanto

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About Rie Yanti

Has a bachelor degree from Padjadjaran University in French Literature Studies. She has been writing since her childhood and has produced both short stories and poetry. Rie loves writing about animals and small things that happen in her life. She has published three books, Satin Merah (GagasMedia 2010), Bukan Manusia (Lulu 2011), game Precious Time (Nusa Project 2017), et cetera.

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