Yogyakarta central market place was established north of the keraton during the reign of Hamengkubuwono I. A large building, the size of a city block. was constructed in 1925, and Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX then dubbed the market beringharjo in commemoration of the “beautiful bering tree” forest which stood here when the city was founded. Reconstructed in 1991. it has re-opened as the three-story Beringharjo Market Center.
Entering the crowded, dimly-lit market from the street you move into quite a different world. Tropical fruits are piled high under paper umbrellas outside the entrance. Stacks of clothing, batik (new and used), colorful lurik and other fabrics are displayed along the narrow aisles. Keris repairers and tailors ply their trades in stalls half enclosed by darkness, and all amazing array of food stuffs is found – pungent meats and fish, fresh carrots and potatoes, leafy spinach and mountains of bright-red chili peppers. Other stalls contain heaps of bamboo baskets and stack of second-hand miscellany such as motor parts, records, lamps and hardwares.
The market is teeming with surprises; the joy here is in exploring the dim corners pierced by occasional beans of sunlight from the rafters. Beware of, pickpockets and “guides” who attach themselves to you in the hopes of finagling a commission on everything you purchase. Although a few batik stalls have posted fixed prices, bargaining is the order of the day.