Today, the town of Cirebon has four palaces, precious heritage of this once powerful Islamic kingdom. They are the Keraton (palace) Kasepuhan, Keraton Kanoman, Keraton Kacirebonan, and Keraton Keprabon. The two former mentioned are the largest, and have throne rooms, whereas, the latter are really royal houses. However, all show a fusion of architectures from their Hindu heritage to Islam, and further infused with distinct Chinese and Dutch influences, creating a unique Cirebon style architecture.
The Kasepuhan Keraton (Palace) is located in the sub-district of Lemahwungkuk in the City of Cirebon, built in 1529 by Prince Mas Mochammad Arifin II. This is therefore, the oldest palace on Java with the longest history. All royal families of Cirebon still live on until today, but all are now, of course, subjects of the Republic of Indonesia.
Standing on a total land area of 10 hectares, the Kasepuhan Keraton is the largest, the most impressive and best kept among the Cirebon palaces, where every niche carries its own historic significance. The inner buildings are all painted white where are found the throne room, living rooms of the royal household and reception areas to meet guests. As is usual with the keratons on Java, the palace stands on the south side facing the large green square where stands the Sang Cipta Rasa Grand mosque at its western side.
Another interesting feature of the palace is the Lawang Sanga building located on its south side, directly on the banks of the Krayan river. This is the tax and customs office during the reign of the Cirebon kingdom. All goods from overseas entering the kingdom must pass the Krayan river where the king’s officials will levy the necessary customs duty. This building, therefore is most significant for the wealth and welfare of the kingdom.
Located on the northern highway that stretches along the entire north coast of Java, popularly known as Pantura-Cirebon is easily accessible by road an by rail from Jakarta or vice versa from Surabaya. From Jakarta you can take a train to Cirebon from Gambir Station in Central Jakarta at Medan Merdeka Timur. To travel around the city of Cirebon best take a taxi or hire a car. There are, however, also small buses called “angkot” that will take you to the many attractions.