Tracing The History of Kampongs Naming

Many historical kampongs in Yogyakarta are unique due to their naming. The naming could be based on the profession of its inhabitants or the ethnic of the dominating dwellers. You can wander about them while enjoying their enchantment.

Updated on 24 August 2018

Some kampongs in Yogyakarta are unique because of their similar naming process. Some kampongs are named based on the profession of most of the dwellers, kinship and position, the skill of the inhabitants or the name of the troops. The kampongs are especially those around Kingdom area that are divided into two namely Jeron Beteng or those living inside the area of the Kingdom complex and Jaban Beteng for those living outside of the Kingdom area.

The kampongs inside the Kingdom area were mostly named based on the skill of the people most of them served the kingdom to handle the household daily affairs. Walking to the east of the North Square and turning to the right to enter Plengkung Wijilan or Wijilan Gate, you will see Mantrigawen, Gamelan, Namburan, and Siliran kampongs. If you continue walking southwards, you will come to Nagan and Patehan kampongs.

The name of Mantrigawen denotes the position of the officers who worked as the heads of the employees, while the name of Gamelan was taken from the profession of the dwellers that worked as horseshoe makers. Siliran was the dwelling place for the servants whose job was lighting lamps and Namburan was dwelled by the servants whose job were playing traditional snare drum. Patehan was the home for tea makers while Nagan was the residence for Javanese gamelan players.

In the outside of the Kingdom area, you will see other kampongs where kingdom servants working as administrative officers, soldiers, craftsmen, professionals or other noblemen lived. Some kampongs according to YogYES.COM's data are Pajeksan, Jlagran, Dagen, Gandekan, Gowongan, Wirobrajan, Patangpuluhan, Prawirotaman, Mantrijeron and Bugisan. To encircle the areas, you may begin from north side to the south part since the distribution of the kampongs began from Tugu to Panggung Krapyak.

The name Pajeksan was taken since the area was dwelled by prosecutors or jaksa, while Dagen was used because the place was the living place of carpenters or dagi in Javanese word. Gowongan was the home of the house builders and Jlagran was resided by bricklayers. Other kampongs such as Prawirotaman, Mantrijeron, Bugisan, Wirobrajan, Patangpuluhan and Jogokaryan were the places where the soldiers of Prawirotomo, Mantrijero, Wirobrojo, Bugis, Patangpuluh and Jogokoryo troops lived.

Along with the progress and plurality of the inhabitants in Yogyakarta, starting from 1900s other kampongs outside the Kingdom area existed. Generally, the kampongs were divided based on its ethnic so that they were named based on the dominating ethic. Some kampongs that you may visit are Kranggan, Pecinan, Sayidan, Menduran, Loji Kecil, Kotabaru, and Sagan. In addition to functioning as dwelling places, those areas also become centers of economy activities.

Kranggan kampong that is located north of Tugu and Pecinan that is situated to the south of Malioboro used to be dwelled by Chinese people. Sayidan kampong is a place for Arabians while Menduran was the living place of Madurese people. European descendants who mostly were Dutch people lived in Loji Kecil area that is located close to Vredeburg Fortress, Kotabaru in the northeast of Malioboro and Sagan that is close to Solo Street.

Feeling the atmosphere of the kampongs or spending a while to interact with the inhabitants, you will find more about the history of the kampongs naming and the condition of Yogyakarta in the past. You may wonder that some kampongs do not show suitability with their names. However, the changes shall make the kampongs more interesting to visit.

Prawirotaman kampong, for example, is not the dwelling place for the kingdom soldiers anymore; it functions as a tourism area where people open lodgings or souvenir shops. Sayidan kampong becomes more popular as the activity center for street musicians. Kranggan still has its enchantment with its traditional market and the area around Siliran is crowded with murals on the walls.

The traces of the past triumph in those kampongs are still noticeable. Loji Kecil and Kotabaru areas have buildings with Indies nuance as the evidence that those are places for Europeans. Some shops in Pecinan (now it is named Ahmad Yani Street) are still in operation so that they become witnesses of the triumph of Chinese merchants in the past. The kampongs inside the Kingdom area preserve Javanese typical buildings where the kingdom servants are living now.

Those kampongs are located close one to each other so that they can be reached by pedicab or bicycle. You can enjoy riding the pedicab and the romanticism of pedaling bicycle going along those kampongs.