Mataram was the center Mataram Hindu Kingdom, which is now Yogyakarta. Since the 8th century this Kingdom ruled all over Java, and very civilized, prosperous that it built temples, magnificent architecture. After the center of Java culture moved to East Java, the region shifted to lush forest. Few centuries later, Java was under Pajang Kingdom in Central Java. The King gave forest of Mentaok to Ki Gede Pemanahan for his favor conquering the kingdom’s enemy. Ki Gede Pemanahan moved to Mentaok, which formerly was Mataram region.
The region was then evolved, and developed well. Under the predecessor of Ki Gede Pemanahan’s son, Senopati Ingalaga, then this region called as Kotagede. Senapati built inner fortress (cepuri) that surrounded palace and outer fortress or baluwarti surrounded the town (kota) covered approximately 200 ha. While Pajang was in conflict after the death of Sultan Hadiwijaya. The royal prince of Pajang , Pangeran Benowo was eliminated by Arya Pangiri. Pangeran Benowo asked Sen0pati favor to help him, as Arya Pangiri was not a good king for his people. Finally Arya Pangiri was defeated but Senopati gave him mercy. Pangeran Benowo offered him the Pajang throne, but he rejected. After Pangeran Benowo passed away, he gave the throne to Senopati. Since then he ruled, with title of Panembahan Senopati, to respect the previous kings, he didnt use Sultan for his official name. Panembahan Senopati is the first Mataram king and the government center was located in Kotagede. He ruled over other parts of Java, died in 1601 and buried in Kotagede, next to his father grave. His KIngdom ruled over Java except Batavia and Banten, and reached the most glorious period when the 3rd king rules, Sultan Agung. Sultan Agung moved the capital in 1613 to Karta region.
As the former Mataram Capital, Kotagede has many historical building, such as Royal cemetery, Mosque, Old Javanese House, old urban planning, and the remnant of fortress. Planning of Town with town square, palace and market in one line can seen here.
In Kota Gede, visitors can see actively used old market since Panembahan Senopati period every certain days in Javanese calendar, every morning various commodity are placed here for transaction. The building has been restored but still it maintains the real architecture and position. Exploring Kotagede are can be started here, proceed to the cemetery, fortress and caged banyan tree.
The cemetery of Mataram kings has a hindu style architecture gate and every gate has wooden door that is beautifully carved. The cemetery is guarded by men in Javanese costume twenty four seven. Opens for visitor on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Riday from 8 am to 4 pm. No photography allowed here and wearing gold jewellery is also prohibited. This cemetery is where Sultan Hadiwijaya, Ki Gede Pemanahan, Panembahan Senopati, Sultan Agung and their families rest in peace.
Located in front of the cemetery, is the oldest mosque in Jogja. Behind the cemetery, located old javanese house that are still used as place to live. Not far from there, there are 3 banyan trees, that in the mid of them located watu gilang, a black square stone with surface written ITA MOVENTUR MUNDU S – AINSI VA LE MONDE – Z00 GAAT DE WERELD – COSI VAN IL MONDO and AD ATERN AM MEMORIAM INFELICS – IN FORTUNA CONSOERTES DIGNI VALETE QUIDSTPERIS INSANI VIDETE IGNARI ET RIDETE, CONTEMNITE VOS CONSTEMTU – IGM (In Glorium Maximam). Watu cantheng is another interesting to look, constitutes of 3 balls made of yellow colored stone. Probably they are balls of cannon.Fortress remnants of 400 m times 400 m can also still be seen. This fortress was surrounded by ditch, 4 feet high and made of big block of stone.