Sultan's palace feels force of the tremors

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The Independent Online

The recent powerful earthquake in Indonesia has damaged a centuries-old palace in the heart of Yogyakarta, which is still ruled by descendants of the Indonesian royal family.

Local officials said yesterday that a pavilion used to store the palace's treasures, including a carriage used by the city's first sultan, was destroyed. An ancient set of gamelan musical instruments was also crushed, and walls in 12 other buildings in the complex cracked.

Yogyakarta is still governed by a sultan, Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono X, who is descended from an Indonesian prince who designed and built the palace in 1756. The province is a self-governing district directly answerable to the capital, Jakarta.

The current sultan still lives in the palace, which is situated in an old walled city within modern Yogyakarta, a bustling place home to half a million people. Yogyakarta is the only province in Indonesia still governed by a pre-colonial sultan.

A security official at the palace, Harjimay, said it was currently closed to tourists. Usually some parts of it, including a museum, are open to the public.

The earthquake also badly damaged the world-renowned Prambanan Hindu temple complex outside Yogyakarta.

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