EAST JAVA – the Hidden Treasures of Java
The Majapahit dynasty based in and around East Java, began the foundation of an empire that was to dominate the entire Indonesia archipelago, the Malay Peninsula and part of the Philippines, also establishing profitable trade relations with Burma, China, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam. As a power in Central Java declined in the 10th century, powerful kingdoms rose in East Java to fill the power vacuum. During 1055 to 1222, the Kingdom of Kediri prospered and expended. During the reign of King Airlangga both East Java and Bali enjoyed a lucrative trade with the surrounding islands, directly relating to a period of artistic advancement and mastery. Parts of Mahabrata epic were translated and re-interpreted to confirm closer to an East Java philosophy and view of life, and it was from this era that East Java inherited much of its treasure of temple art. Little of the Majapahit Empire’s former glory still stands in East Java, however, with exception of temple ruins and some archeological discoveries.
Nevertheless, East Java has variety of attractions, ranging from temple sites to beautiful, unspoiled beaches, awesome volcanoes, picturesque highland lakes, colorful marine gardens and fantastic wildlife reserve. Magnificent Mountain scenery includes the crater and legendary sea of sand at Mount Bromo, the “Sulfur Mountain” of Welirang and the rugged Ijen Plateau.
The provincial capital, Surabaya is a booming city of 4 million – the Republic’s second largest town – with excellent tourist amenities, shopping centers, a famous Zoo and a wide range of other entertainment facilities. It is also the most industrialized province in the nation with a strong economy based on agriculture, fishery, oil industry, coffee, mangoes and apple.