Borobudur, Other Sites, Closed After Mount Kelud Eruption

Workers cover the famous Borobudur temple to protect it. (EPA Photo)

Workers cover the famous Borobudur temple to protect it. (EPA Photo)

Jakarta. Key tourism sites on the Indonesian island of Java were shut down on Friday as Mount Kelud’s explosive eruption blanketed a significant swath of Central Java in gray ash.

Workers covered the iconic stupas and statues of Borobudur temple on Friday, closing the region’s largest tourism location to visitors. The Prambanan temple and Ratu Boko palace were also closed for the day. It was unknown on Friday when the historic sites would reopen, the sites’ tourism company told the state-run Antara News Agency.

The company apologized for any inconvenience they may have caused travelers.

“We’re sorry for the inconvenient situation for people who were about to visit Borobudur and Prambanan temples and the Ratu Boko archeological site,” said Achamad Muchlis, secretary of the Taman Wisata Candi Borobudur, Prambanan dan Ratu Boko Yogyakarta company.

Borobudur could remained closed for the coming week, the company’s spokesman said.

“The Borobudur temple conservation agency in Central Java has covered some of [the temple's] stupas to protect the temple stones from volcanic ash,” spokesman Indra said. “It’s predicted that the stupas will be covered for the next seven days.”

Indra warned tourists to not attempt to visit the sites, explaining that the roads leading to Prambanan  were still slick with ash.

Mount Kelud blew its top late Thursday night in an explosive eruption heard as far away as Yogyakarta. As ash fell on Friday, the central government called for the evacuation of 36 villages in a 10-kilometer radius around the volcano, according to reports by Agence France-Presse. Some 200,000 were driven from their homes in and around Kediri district, East Java.

The eruption covered the region in thick ash as it spewed some 120 cubic meters of debris 17 kilometers into the sky, Gede Suantika, of the Volcanology and Disaster Mitigation Center (PVMBG), told the Indonesian news portal Detik.com on Friday.