The second royal house in Solo, the Puro Mangkunegoro stands 1km west of the kraton and, like Yogya’s court of Paku Alam, faces south towards the Kasunanan Palace as a mark of respect. With its fine collection of antiques and curios, in many ways the Puro Mangkunegoro is more interesting than the Kasunanan Palace. It was built in 1757 to placate the rebellious Prince Mas Said (Mangkunegoro I), a nephew of Pakubuwono II, who was given a royal title, a court in Solo and rulership over four thousand of Solo’s households in a peace deal. The palace hides behind a high white wall, entered through the gateway to the south. The vast pendopo (the largest in Indonesia) that fronts the palace shields four gamelan orchestras underneath its rafters, three of which can only be played on very special occasions. The pendopo’s vibrantly painted roof features Javanese zodiac figures surrounding the main batik centrepiece that took three years to complete. A portrait of the current resident, Mangkunegoro IX, hangs by the entrance to the Dalam Agung, or living quarters, whose reception room has been turned into an extremely good museum, displaying ancient coins, ballet masks and chastity preservers.
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