Less than a week after the eruption of Mount Merapi in central Java, which killed a total of 38 people and forced more than 50,000 to flee, the iconic temple complex of Borobudur is reopened to the public. Volcanic ash fell onto the temple following the eruption, leaving an ash blanket on the monument carrying acid soot, which damaged the old structure and prompted authorities to close down the temple to the public to begin cleaning. Work was carried out by over 50 workers and conservation officials and was finally completed on Sunday, just four days after the eruption occured. The cleaning was conducted manually and also by usinga vacuum cleaner whenever possible. During the cleaning, visitors could only access the compound of the temple and observe the cleaning from afar.
Borobudur is one of the most-visited attractions in Indonesia. In 2008, the temple complex attracted over 2.5 million visitors, including over 200,000 from foreign countries. During the closure, numbers dropped by an estimated 30 percent according to officials from PT Taman Wisata Candi Borobudur Prambanan and Ratu Boko, the company managing the site.
In another development, Garuda is flying again to Yogyakarta after having rerouted its flights to Solo because of concerns that volcanic dust from Merapi volcano would damage plane engines.