The ancient history of Solo dates back to the time series of events, started when the first “Java Man” was found in Sangiran, Sragen Regency. Then, a research that mentioned that Surakarta was established in a village called Village Sala, on the edge of the River Solo.
Up until 1744, Solo was little more than a quiet backwater village, 10km east of Kartasura, the contemporary capital of the Mataram kingdom. But in that year the Mataram susuhunan (king), Pakubuwono II , backed the Chinese against the Dutch, and the court at Kartasura was sacked as a result. Pakubuwono II searched for a more auspicious spot to rebuild his capital, and in 1745 the entire court was dismantled and transported in a great procession to Surakarta, on the banks of the Kali Solo.
However, the decline continued, and in 1757 a rival royal house of Mangkunegoro was established right in the centre of Solo. Thereafter, Solo’s royal houses wisely avoided fighting and instead threw their energies into the arts, developing a highly sophisticated and graceful court culture. The gamelan pavilions became the new theatres of war, with each city competing to produce the more refined court culture – a situation that continues to this day.