Address : Jalan Pangeran Mangkubumi
Like many other cities, Yogyakarta also has a historical monument. Tugu Yogya, or usually just called by “Tugu”, is one of the most famous landmarks in the city. Having a deep philosophy behind its existence, the monument has been there for over three centuries witnessing the history of Yogyakarta.
Tugu is a tower-like monument often considered as the symbol of Yogyakarta. It was built in the times of Sultan Hamengku Buwono I, the city’s founding father. It is one of the points on the straight mythical line connecting the South Sea, the King’s Palace, and Mount Merapi stretching south-north. Back centuries ago, it represented the concept of manunggaling kawula gusti, the unification of the lords and the ordinary folks in fighting against colonialism. The spirit of unification, called golong gilig, is embodied by the monument in the gilig (tubelike-shaped) body and golong (round-shaped) peak. In fact, the monument is originally named Tugu Golong-Gilig. At the time, Tugu functioned also as a guide for the direction which the sultan would face during meditation, i.e. the direction of Mount Merapi. Back then, the monument was 25 meter high.
On 10 June 1867, a big earthquake shook Yogyakarta and damaged the monument severely. And in 1889, Tugu was rebuilt and redesigned by the Dutch colonial government. They made the body cubical with an inscription showing those involved in the renovation on each of its four sides. The peak of the monument was no longer round, it became conical. It also became shorter as after the renovation, it was only 15 meter high. Since then, the monument was called De Witt Paal or The White Pole.
It is believed that the new design of Tugu is the Dutch tactics to break the leaders and people apart after they knew about the meaning of the former golong-gilig architecture.
Tugu Yogyakarta is more beautiful at night with the colorful lights making it look more imposing. You can visit the monument at afternoon, too, while enjoying the gudeg or other foods sold nearby.
Students from areas outside Yogyakarta—which is known as the City of Education—often come to kiss the historical pole or take a picture with it after graduation. It has become a kind of ritual before they leave Yogyakarta to return home as well as a promise to come back.
As a tourism object, the monument keeps receiving visitors most of the time in a day, even in busy hours when motorcycles and cars pass to and fro.
Tugu Yogyakarta is situated right at the center of the intersection connecting Pangeran Mangkubumi Street, Jendral Soedirman Street, A.M. Sangaji Street, and Pangeran Diponegoro Street.
Tugu is very accessible. Pangeran Mangkubumi Street (south), Jendral Soedirman Street (east), A.M. Sangaji Street (north), and Pangeran Diponegoro (west) Street are four of the main streets in the city.
Tugu Yogya sits at a public area so there is no ticket applied. However, visitors must be careful because it is at the center of an intersection, especially in daytime.
F. Accommodations and Other Facilities
Despite being a tourism object, the monument is surrounded by a business area so there are not many facilities for tourists, except the benches, police station, gudeg seller, shops, tricycles, and parking lots.
The best time to visit the monument is at night when the streets are less busy and the lights are on to beautify the pole.
Text: Andreas Eko Wahyu S
Photo(s): Collection of Jogjatrip.com
Translation: Reza Daffi
(Primary data and various sources)