Warungboto Site, Yogyakarta – An Ongoing Historical Discovery

Submitted by viravira on 22 September 2017   •  Destination


Have you been to Taman Sari water palace in Yogyakarta? If you have, or if you’ve at least seen it in photos, you know this building looks so much like it. Turns out, this one is Pesanggrahan Rejawinangun, or more popularly known as the Warungboto site. It is a historical site from the 18th century, still in renovation, recently open for public visit.


Warungboto site
Warungboto site, a celebration of stairs and arches.


So what is this Warungboto site?

Warungboto site used to be a leisure house for the king and family, built by Sultan Hamengkubuwono II since he was still a prince, finished in his reign. Because it was meant for them to relax and unwind, gardens and fountains were built at the site. “It was also a bath house for the king and family. But now the fountain and the pools are dry. The water is now distributed to the surrounding villages, if I’m not mistaken,” said Halim, a fellow blogger I bumped into when I had breakfast at Pasar Gede, Solo, just before I went to Warungboto later in the day. Halim had been to Warungboto site in 2016, before it had gotten popular on Instagram, where I found it.

The building was originally built with bricks, with no trace of wood structure, and it had thick walls, typical of old buildings that still remain until today. It had been through earthquakes, which made it in an awful condition. In Halim’s blog here you can see the photos of Warungboto site before renovation. I’m not sure what color the wall was painted in the old days, but now after renovation it’s mostly rusty peach.

(Also read: Liyangan, A Buried City, not far from Yogyakarta)
Warungboto site
The main area of Warungboto site with its dry pools.


Warungboto site
Everybody wants a piece of Warungboto site.


Warungboto site
Used to be a fountain.


Warungboto site
Pictures taken from any angle, Warungboto site is totally instagramable.


The interesting and eye-catchy features of Warungboto site is the cascade of stairs that reminded me of the “Relativity” lithograph print by M.C. Escher, the arch gateways (where there probably had been doors), and the (dry) pools in the main area. The stairs lead up to the rooftop in right and left wings, from where you can view the building like a maze, and the surrounding village.

Though I don’t think it exceeds the beauty and the majesty of Taman Sari, Warungboto Site is still very pretty. I can understand why there were many visitors who came only to take photos (OOTD type, mostly).

If you are going there to take photos, I suggest you come in the morning for better lighting. I went in the afternoon, the backlight didn’t do justice to the building in the pictures.

(Also read: My favorite temples in Bagan, Myanmar)
Warungboto site
Stairs behind the main area.


Warungboto site
The back wall of Warungboto Site.


Warungboto site
The maze-like building and surrounding village.


Warungboto site
Hide and seek.


When visiting a historical site, I think it’s best if you find out about the history. That way, you’ll know what you are actually looking at, so it will at least add a meaning to your photos and captions.

Upon entering the site, there’s an info panel on the history of Pesanggrahan Rejawinangun – so far it’s written only in Indonesian language. It’s the only official information provided on the site. There wasn’t any tourism service, like a tour guide or any officer you can ask further about this Warungboto site’s history. There wasn’t any admission fee either. But I think things will change in the near future since it’s gained more popularity among history lovers, OOTD enthusiasts, and even sketchers like me. For more reading about Warungboto site in English, these are a few that I found: Yogyes.com and Indonesiantourismreview.


Warungboto site
My #travelsketch version of Warungboto site.


Warungboto site
Some people take forever to have that perfect #OOTD shot.


Warungboto site
It’s hard to get a clear shot of the site, there’s people everywhere, taking photos, just like I was.


Warungboto site
Now lemme take a selfie.


Getting to Warungboto Site

The place is known as Warungboto site simply because it’s located in Warungboto village, about 2,4 km from another historical importance, Kotagede. I had no trouble getting there from the Lempuyangan train station by a Grabbike ojek (it’s like Uber but with motorcycles), with a driver that followed the Google Map and has taken tourists there previously.

If you ride your own (hired) motorbike, there’s a parking area near the site, organized by a local.


Pesanggrahan Rejawinangun or Warungboto Site

Jl. Veteran No.77, Warungboto

Umbulharjo, Kota Yogyakarta

Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta


Warungboto site
The main entrance of Warungboto site.


Warungboto site
The alley heading to Warungboto site.


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