Timeline
4,000 BC
Javanese descended from seafarers of China.
6th century BC
Birth of Gautama Buddha.
400 AD
Java becomes sea link between India and China
Javanese began carving stone statues and inscriptions.
768-814 Charlemagne rules from northeastern Spain north to the Baltic Sea and east into the Italian peninsula. He is crowned emperor in 800 AD.
800s Mayans build large cities with tens of thousands of inhabitants under reign of King Samaratunga.
7th and 8th centuries
Monks and holy men make pilgrimages to Java from Asian continent.
8th – 13th centuries
Sailendra dynasty rules Sumatra and Java.
750 to 850 Golden Age of the Sailendra dynasty.
760 Probable beginning of Borobudur construction.
830 Probable completion of Borobudur construction.
700-900
People of Central Java enjoy a high level of cultural development, erecting many grand palaces and religious monuments.
c.930
Javanese culture and political life move east, away from the lands around Borobudur.
13th – 14th centuries
Islam religion comes to Java.
1500-1800s
Borobudur is abandoned; volcanic ash fills the galleries; vegetation, including trees, takes root on the buried monument.
1709
According to the 18th century chronicle Babad Tanah Jawi, the rebel Ki Mas Dana makes a stand at Borobudur in a revolt against the Sultan of Mataram. The monument is besieged and the rebel defeated, brought before the king and sentenced to death.
1758
In the Babad Mataram (History of the Kingdom of Mataram), a story is told of the crown prince of the Sultanate of Yogyakarta, who disobeyed his father and journeyed to climb "the mountain of a thousand statues." The Sultan sent his men to bring him back, but he became ill and died as soon as he returned to the palace.
1811-1816
Java comes under British rule.
1814
Sir Thomas Stamford Bingley Raffles, the English Lieutenant Governor of Java, is informed of the existence of a huge monument called Chandi Borobudur. Raffles orders Dutch engineer officer H.C. Cornelius and two hundred villagers to fell trees, burn undergrowth and dig away the earth that covers the monument.
1815
May 18th: Raffles visits Borobudur.
1844
A bamboo teahouse is built on top of the central stupa of the monument.
1885
Panels that surround the hidden base of Borobudur are discovered by J.W. Ijzerman, Chairman of the Archeological Society in Yogyakarta, under the processional pathway that has been built around the monument. This discovery brings about renewed efforts to safeguard Borobudur from vandalism and natural threats.
1890-1891
The hidden panels are excavated and photographed, then the pathway is replaced.
1896
Dutch Colonial officials give the King of Siam eight wagon loads of statues and bas-reliefs from Borobudur, including five of the best Buddhas and two complete stone lions.
1911
A Dutch archeologist from Leiden University paints many of the reliefs with ochre to improve his photography. The yellow ochre remains, encouraging the growth of algae, fungus, lichen and moss on the stones themselves.
1907-1911
The first major restoration project at Borobudur is begun by Theodor van Erp, a Dutch army engineer officer. He spends the first seven months excavating the grounds around the monument, finding missing Buddha heads and panel stones. Van Erp then dismantles and rebuilds the upper three circular terraces and crumbling stupas. His team cleans many of the sculptures of moss and lichen. However, he is unable to solve the drainage problem which is undercutting the monument. Within fifteen years, the gallery walls are sagging and the reliefs show signs of new cracks and deterioration.
1948
The Republic of Indonesia comes into existence.
1955
The Indonesian government asks UNESCO for advice on treating the weathered stones of Borobudur.
1968
The Indonesian government and the United Nations, working through UNESCO, launch a "Save Borobudur" campaign. A bold plan is proposed to dismantle and rebuild the lower terraces of Borobudur, clean and treat the story panels, and install a new drainage system to stop further erosion.
1971
The plan is approved by the Indonesian government and restoration committee.
1975
Restoration work begins.
1983
Feb. 23: Completion of the project is marked by an inaugural ceremony.
1991
Borobudur is included in UNESCO's World Heritage list.


historical records | Borobudur revealed | Enlightenment | building Borobudur
nature takes a toll | saving Borobudur | timeline

Mona Lisa
detail from Guernica
Lilies of the Valley Faberge Egg
Hope Diamond
Taj Mahal
scene from Borobudur

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