From the World Heritage inscription for the Prambanan Temple Compounds:
Prambanan Temple Compounds consist of Prambanan Temple (also called Loro Jonggrang), Sewu Temple, Bubrah Temple and Lumbung Temple. Prambanan Temple itself is a complex consisting of 240 temples. All the mentioned temples from the Prambanan Archaeological Park and were built during the heyday of Sailendra’s powerful dynasty in Java in the 8th century AD. These compounds are located on the border between the two provinces of Yogyakarta and Central Java on Java Island.
While Loro Jonggrang, dating from the 9th century, is a brilliant example of Hindu religious bas-reliefs, Sewu, with its four pairs of Dwarapala giant statues, is Indonesia’s largest Buddhist complex including the temples of Lumbung, Bubrah and Asu (Gana temple). The Hindu temples are decorated with reliefs illustrating the Indonesian version of the Ramayana epic which are masterpieces of stone carvings. These are surrounded by hundreds of shrines that have been arranged in three parts showing high levels of stone building technology and architecture from the 8th century AD in Java. With over 500 temples, Prambanan Temple Compounds represents not only an architectural and cultural treasure but also a standing proof of past religious peaceful cohabitation.
The Prambanan Temple Compounds are very similar in architectural style to the early Hindu temples you can see in Angkor, Cambodia or My Son, Vietnam. While it is often overshadowed by nearby Borobudur, it is in many respects much more impressive. Unfortunately, an earthquake in 2006 did significant damage to the entire complex. Restoration efforts are underway, but it was pretty obvious that major damage was done to the site.
Prambanan is even closer to the center of Yogyakarta than Borobudur and should be included in any visit to the city. There is also an opera which takes place at in the evening at Prambanan which uses the ruins as a backdrop. I didn’t get to attend, but it looked pretty cool. It is possible (but probably not advisable) to fly to Yogyakarta and visit both Prambanan and Borobudur from Bali and return in one day. Taking a day or two is a good idea and well worth the effort.
View the complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Indonesia.
View the list of all of the UNESCO World Heritage sites I have visited on my travels.