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Surakarta - Indonesia

Surakarta (Javanese: ꦯꦸꦫꦏꦂꦠ, often called Solo or less common spelling Sala) is a city in Central Java. The 46 km2 city adjoins Karanganyar Regency and Boyolali Regency to the north, Karanganyar Regency and Sukoharjo Regency to the east and west, and Sukoharjo Regency to the south. On the eastern side of Solo lies Solo River (Bengawan Solo). Its built-up (or metro) area made of Surakarta Municipality and 59 districts spread on 7 regencies was home to 3,649,254 inhabitants as of 2010 census.

Surakarta is the birthplace of the current President of Indonesia, Joko Widodo. He served as Mayor of Surakarta from 2005 to 2012.

One of the earliest censuses held in Surakarta Residency (Residentie Soerakarta) was in 1885. At that time, with an area of about 5,677 km², there were 1,053,985 people in Surakarta Residency, including 2,694 Europeans and 7,543 Indonesian-Chinese. The area, 130 times the current area of Surakarta, had a population density of 186 people/km². The capital of the residency itself (roughly the size of the City of Solo proper) in 1880 had 124,041 people living in it.

According to the 2009 census, there were 245,043 males and 283,159 females (a sex ratio of 86.54) in Surakarta. 119,951 of the population were 14 years or younger, 376,180 were between 15 and 64, and 32,071 were above 65. The number of households was 142,627 and the average number of household members was 3.7. The population growth in the last 10 years was about 0.565% per year.

The labor force of Solo in 2009 was 275,546, of whom 246,768 were working, while 28,778 were seeking work. Another 148,254 people aged 15 and above were not in the labor force. Based on employment numbers, the most common work in Solo was worker/paid employee (112,336), followed by self-employee (56,112), self-employee assisted by temporary employee (32,769), unpaid employee (20,193), self-employee assisted by permanent employee (14,880), freelance employee in non-agricultural work (10,241), and freelance employee in agricultural work (237). Based on the industry, most people in Solo worked in trade (106,426), services (59,780), manufacturing (42,065), communication (16,815), construction (9,217), financing (9,157), or agriculture (2,608), and the rest in mining, electricity, gas, and water companies (700).

The mean working week in Solo was 47.04 hours (47.74 for men and 46.13 for women), and 212,262 people worked more than 35 hours per week compared to 34,506 who worked less than that.

Surakarta has four train stations, Solo Balapan, Purwosari, Solo Jebres, and Solo Kota (Sangkrah). Solo Balapan is the largest station in Surakarta, and is the junction between Yogyakarta (westward), Semarang (northward), and Surabaya (eastward), while Purwosari is the junction located west of Solo Balapan, and has a connection to Wonogiri (southward). There are several direct lines to other cities, such as Jakarta, Bandung, Surabaya, Semarang, Madiun, and Malang. For regional traffic, a special train connects Surakarta and Yogyakarta, the Prameks (Prambanan Ekspres) train.

In July 26, 2011 the Railbus has been launched to serve Surakarta/Solo–Wonogiri route, but for the moment only Solo-Sukoharjo trackage was ready due to there are 99 bridges should be strengthen between Sukoharjo-Wonogiri. Until April 2012, Surakarta-Wonogiri railbus is still in a big question mark due to the 12 tons railbuses are considered too heavy for existing railroad track that only has the capacity of accommodating 10-ton vehicles, furthermore PT KAI have proposed a fare between Rp30,000 ($3.27) and Rp40,000 ($4.36) per passenger, while Surakarta administration wants tickets to be priced much lower between Rp5,000 ($0.54) and Rp7,000 ($0,76).

A few centuries later, after the destruction of the great Hindu Majapahit Empire in the 15th – 16th centuries by the Central Javanese Muslim kingdom of Demak, the Javanese centre of power moved back to Central Java. In the meanwhile European traders began to frequent Central Javanese ports. The Dutch established a presence in the region through their East India Company.

After Demak itself collapsed, a new kingdom on the Kedu Plain emerged. This new kingdom, which was also a sultanate, bore the old name of Mataram. Under the reign of Sultan Agung, Mataram was able to conquer almost all of Java and beyond by the 17th century, but internal disputes and Dutch intrigues forced Mataram to cede more and more land to the Dutch. These cessions finally led to several partitions of Mataram. The first partition was after the 1755 Treaty of Giyanti. This treaty divided the old kingdom in two, the Sultanate of Surakarta and the Sultanate of Yogyakarta. Then few years later Surakarta was divided again with the establishment of the Mangkunegaran after the Treaty of Salatiga (March 17, 1757).

During the Napoleonic Wars in Europe, Central Java, as part of the Netherlands East-Indies, a Dutch colony, was handed over to the British. In 1813, the Sultanate of Yogyakarta was also divided with the establishment of the Pakualamanan.

After the British left, the Dutch came back, as decided by the Congress of Vienna. Between 1825 – 1830 the Java War ravaged Central Java. The result of the war was a consolidation of the Dutch power. The power and the territories of the divided kingdom of Mataram were greatly reduced.

As the overwhelming majority of the population of Central Java are Javanese, the most dominant language is Javanese. There are several dialects which are spoken in Central Java, the two main dialects are western Javanese (also called Basa Ngapak which includes the "Banyumasan dialect" and the dialect of Brebes-Tegal-Pekalongan ) and central Javanese.

Sundanese is also spoken in some pockets near the border with West Java, especially in Brebes and Cilacap regencies. However, according to some sources, Sundanese used to be spoken as far away as in Dieng Plateau. This former boundary of Sundanese coincides more or less with the isogloss dividing Central Javanese with Western Javanese. Madurese is also widely spoken on Madura and in the northern coat region of Eastern Java

In urban centers Indonesian is widely spoken.

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