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Yogyakarta despite the official spelling, the name is usually pronounced and not uncommonly written Jogjakarta or just Jogja (JOGH-jah) is a major tourist destination in Indonesia. It is the capital city of the province of Yogyakarta Special Region which is in the southern part of the Central Java province, Indonesia. Yogyakarta is both the name of a province Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta (DIY), literally the Special Area Yogyakarta, and the name of one of DIY's 5 Districts, Kota (or city) Yogyakarta'. The other districts are Sleman on the slopes of fiery Mt Merapi to the North, Bantul all the way to the sea to the South, the hills of Gunungkidul to the East and the low lands of Kulon Progo to the West.One of Indonesia's few Special regions (another being Aceh), the Yogyakarta Special Region owes its special status to the sultanate of Hamengkubuwono, which has ruled the area since 1749 and steered the state through difficult times of occupation and revolution. When the central government tried to weaken the sultan's power by calling a direct election for the state leader, present sultan Hamengkubuwono X was chosen by an overwhelming majority. Today's Yogyakarta is a bustling town of some 500,000 people and the most popular tourist destination on Java, largely thanks to its proximity to the temples of Borobudur and Prambanan. The town is a center of art and education, offers some good shopping and has a wide range of tourist facilities. At 6:30AM on Saturday morning, May 27th 2006, a Richter 5.9 earthquake struck the province of Yogyakarta and the adjoining district of Klaten in Central Java. Although relatively mild, from 40 km below the surface the earthquake produced violent shockwaves that wobbled through the soft clay soils of Yogya's southern and eastern rice paddy districts for a brutal 60 odd seconds. In this briefest moment in time nearly 6,000 people died and over 300,000 houses were completely destroyed, with another 300,000 seriously damaged, making the Jogja earthquake, (in terms of physical damage) one of the worst in global history .Although Yogyakarta city was less than 25 km from the epicenter few areas of the city suffered significant visual damage, with most damage confined to the south and east of the city centre in areas such as the famous silver smithing area of Kota Gede and the artsy areas to the south of Jl Prawirotaman .The massive response by the people of Java, the Indonesian government and the national and international aid community has resulted in one of the most rapid and effective disaster recovery operations ever. The above said, many residents of the affected districts of Jogja and Central Java still remain deeply traumatized, continuing to suffer from the deep pain caused by the loss of family, injuries and loss of livelihoods. Aid efforts continue to this day, with many families still housed in makeshift or semi complete accommodation. Visitors should feel encouraged to travel through the earthquake affected area, assisting however they can. Yogyakarta is commonly considered the modern cultural centre of Java. Although some may profer Solo as a good runner up, Yogya remains the clear front runner for traditional dance, Wayang (traditional puppetry) and music. The city currently hosts over thirty universities, including Indonesias first and perhaps most famous university, University Gadja Mada (UGM) along with the National Institute of the Arts (ISI) amongst others. This concentration of students and teachers provides a intellectual backdrop to a dynamic youth culture bursting with music, arts, cafes, warungs, lesehans (road side food stalls) and the odd nightclub.Yogya was founded in 1755 and was the capital of the Mataram kings when the Dutch came along. The Dutch granted the kings the title of Sultan of the territory of Yogyakarta. Yogyakarta was also the scene of Indonesia's most successful rebellions against the Dutch - firstly with Prince Diponegoro who waged a holy war against colonial rule from 1825 to 1830, and also serving as the capital of the newly independent republic after World War II when the Dutch reoccupied Batavia (Jakarta). Yogya has more than just culture though. It is a very lively city and a shopper's delight. The main road, Jalan Maliboro, is always crowded and famous for its night street food-culture and street vendors. Many tourist shops and cheap hotels are concentrated along this street or in the adjoining tourist area of Jl Sosrowijayan. The key attraction of Yogyakarta is the Kraton (the Sultan's Palace). This vast complex of decaying buildings was built in the 18th century, and is actually a walled city within the city with luxurious pavilions and in which the current Sultan still resides. Yogya is also the only major city which still has traditional becak (rickshaw-style) transport. Yogyakarta is an excellent starting place for many day trips including to the famous temples of Borobudur, and Prambanam as well as the Dieng Plateau and Solo.