Balapan Station in Historical Memory
Solo-Balapan Station holds a million memories, not only for the people of Bengawan City. The late long-haired singer Didi Kempot was also inspired by him. Previously, there were airline airports, stations were a luxury. Paku Buwana X also often used this facility. In Serat Srikaronron it is explained, Sinuwun and his entourage took a special carriage to Tugu Station. Arriving at the Sultanate, Sunan was asked by Hamengku Buwana VII as his future father-in-law: “Ananda Prabu, at what time did you leave the palace?” Sunan replied, “Ayahanda Prabu, I left the palace at 07.30. The journey took about twenty minutes, until I arrived at the Balapan Station I sat for a while then boarded the train and when it was six minutes past 8:00 the train started moving.”
Waskito Widi Wardojo (2012) interprets, in the excerpt of the conversation between the two royal officials who inherit the Islamic Mataram dynasty, the me aspect of the train transportation schedule has received serious attention. In fact, there has been synchronization with the time in the palace bells. In addition, the story proves us that during that period, the train facility was used for the political purposes of the palace (marriage) as well as a symbol of the luxury of the ruler by riding in a special carriage.
In the Wonten Kagungan Dalem Cethok archive stored in the Reksopustoko library, he explains, Balapan Station as the first train station in Surakarta was built in 1866 during
Mangkunegara IV (1853-1881). Before the station was built, the area was used for horse
racing. It can be concluded, the station was built in 1866 and completed in 1870. The period of 1866 with the mention of “dalem cethok” is very likely the year the first stone was placed.
The condition behind the procurement of rail and station in Vorstenlanden (the king’s
territory) was to replace traditional land transportation (cikar and andhong) and
sailboat via Bengawan Solo that were considered no longer effective. For entrepreneurs, me is everything, since their plantation products must immediately reach big ports to be taken “overseas”.
Balapan Station play a key role in the advancement of cross-city industry. In fact, because of this old staon at the beginning of the twentieth century, the term “Solo, the heart
of Java Island” emerged. The term was born from the fact that the rail transportation route,
i.e. every passenger from Batavia, Surabaya, Yogyakarta, and Semarang, had to stop first at
Balapan Station. Inevitably, Balapan became the binding knot of cities in Java.
In 1927, the station lobby was beautified by Thomas Karsten. Indeed, the various works of architects who are good at combining elements of the West with the East cannot be underestimated. The roof of this building uses a steel construction with a three-layered roofing cover so that it takes the form of a canopy as a sign of the application of local elements. The roof canopy in the lobby of the building is different from the canopy in the mosque since the cavity between the roofs is not too wide and the building is square so that the stacked roofs are the same size. Cavies or gaps between the roofs facilitate circulation.
Until now, the building is categorized as cultural heritage and looks still good, being polished following the rules of preservation. The historical story above needs to be represented to foster a sense of public love for heritage and to be more enthusiastic about caring for it. Such is the portrait of the Solo-Balapan Station that always leaves memories, and stay in our heart…