While many, if not most, traditional markets fever in several countries has begun to wane, it is not quite true in Indonesia. Bustling shoppers negotiating the prices, old ladies shouting their goods, and several laughters and chit-chat can be heard quite lively in Beringharjo Market, a huge traditional market located in the city of Yogyakarta, Indonesia.
Beringharjo Market is situated at the heart of the city of Yogyakarta, at Pabringan Street No. 1. It is on the southern end of a famous street and another shopping hotspot, Jalan Malioboro, and side by side with Vredeburg Fort, Taman Budaya Yogyakarta and Shopping Center. On the southwest of Beringharjo there is Gedung Agung, while on the south and southeast of it are Taman Pintar and Yogyakarta Palace.
This market has been the center of economy activity as a trading place since 1758 and its existence has philosophical meaning for local residents where it symbolizes the economy functions as one of the ‘four in one’ poles. The name Beringharjo comes from the words Bering means ‘banyan tree ‘and Harjo means ‘expected to provide welfare’. It was originally a banyan forest but after the Kraton Palace was founded it became a centre for business. Although the market function has not changed dramatically, now it has become into a place of great attraction and fun shopping area for tourists.
In general, this market consists of two separated buildings in the west and the east side. The main entrance to the market is on the west side, facing straight to Malioboro Street. This entrance is a building with a colonial feature of an inscription that reads “Pasar Beringharjo” in Roman alphabet and Javanese letter. The entrance connects to the main passage of the market, which is accompanied with open stalls on its both sides. Beringharjo Market is also known as a center of trade in Batik. The batik center is located on the lower ground of the main building where it sells various kinds of batik. Collections of batik materials are provided at the stalls on the northern side of the west market while the collections of batik clothes are sold at almost everywhere in the western part of the market. In addition to batik, the western stalls of the market provide surjan, blangkon as well as woven and batik sarong.
The northern area of Beringharjo, which used to be known as the Chinatown, is the most popular area. Tourists can find cassettes of old records from the 50’s musicians not available in other place. There is also the center for metal crafts such as Buddha statue in many forms. For ancient money collectors, this market provides ancient money from several countries. And just like any other traditional market, the bargaining system is applicable here.
Although it closes at 5 pm, some activities go on until night. The front part of the market offers various kinds of Yogyakarta specialties’ such as martabak, terang bulan, klepon, getuk, bakpia and many other traditional foods. At around 7 pm to midnight, there are usually gudeg sellers in front of the market who also provide kikil and various oseng-oseng dishes. While eating, tourists can also enjoy the Javanese traditional music being played or chats with the sellers who are friendly are always eager to talk.