From the past, Cirebon is known for its fish and shrimp. Even its name Cirebon confirms this, Ci means water and rebon means shrimps. Because of the port, Cirebon became a place that came to contact with people from different parts of the world. We could see how various culture merge into one in some old buildings in Cirebon. We could visit some of the famous buildings, one of them is the palace or Keraton in Indonesian. There are more than one palaces that we could see in Cirebon, some of them are still being used by the family of the king’s descendants. I only visited two palaces, Keraton Kasepuhan dan Keraton Kanoman. The first one Kasepuhan means sepuh = old, it is the older building. Keraton Kanoman means anom= young was built after the Keraton Kasepuhan.
Keraton Kasepuhan is the biggest from all keratons in Cirebon. It is well kept and easy to visit. The palace is in a complex together with an alun-alun= a field to gather people and a mosque. It is the pattern of old Indonesian cities in Java (Keraton, Alun-alun, Mosque, and there usually a market nearby). You can see this pattern in Jogjakarta, Solo or other big cities in Java that was built during the Dutch colony. It was built in 1447 and its architecture and interior are a blend of Sundanese, Javanese, Islamic, Chinese and Dutch styles.
Keratonan Kanoman is smaller, and located near the market. It was quite difficult to find it, you need to go by becak, motorcycle or just walk around 10 minutes from Keraton Kasepuhan if it is not too hot. I went by becak to go there, but I walked back to Keraton Kasepuhan where I parked my car. At the side of the heat, it was alright. Beside looking at the old building and its beautiful architecture, you can also visit the museum a see the king’s carriage which is a remarkable work of art.
Another place that I went to is Sunyaragi cave, you can also visit this place easily. It is near a busy street. In the past it was surrounded by water, nowdays you cannot see the water anymore. The building is peculiar, strange looking man-made cave made out of corals. You have to see it to know what I mean. I read that this place was built for the king to meditate and rest. It must be a quiet place in the past, but with the busy street near by it is not a good place to meditate today.
Cirebon is also famous for its Batik, with one of the most famous motive the ‘Megamendung’. The famous batik seller in Cirebon is Trusmi, they become famous since how many years ago. You can visit their store, beside selling batik you can also learn and see how batik Cirebon is made. The batik is colorful in Cirebon and some are very affordable. I am not a big shopper so I never really have a huge budget for shopping.
Last but not least, don’t forget to find traditional meal around Cirebon. You can’t miss the Empal Gentong from Cirebon, people say it is very tasty. I prefer Empal Asem as it is more to my taste, I don’t like Santan= coconut milk. There are several Empal Gentong sellers in Cirebon. One of the well-known one is Empal Gentong Haji Apud. You have to come a little earlier before lunch time or way after lunch time in holiday season. It is always packed with people. It causes a traffic jam during lunch hour.