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South Sumatra
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About Location

Palembang is the capital city of South Sumatra Province in Indonesia.Palembang is one of the oldest cities in Indonesia with a lot of history as a capital of a maritime empire.Located on the Musi River banks on the east coast of southern Sumatra island, it has an area of 400.61 square kilometres and a population of 1,441,500.Palembang is the second-largest city in Sumatra after Medan and the seventh-largest city in Indonesia.The city will host the 26th edition of Southeast Asian Games on November 11, 2011 along with Jakarta.It was formerly the capital city of the Kingdom of Srivijaya, a powerful Malay kingdom, which influenced much of Southeast Asia.The earliest evidence of its existence dates from the 7th century; a Chinese monk, I-Tsing, wrote that he visited Srivijaya in 671 for 6 months.The first inscription in which the name Srivijaya appears also dates from the 7th century, namely the Kedukan Bukit Inscription around Palembang in Sumatra, dated 683.

Palembang landmarks include the Ampera bridge and the Musi River which divides the city into two, Seberang Ilir to the north and Seberang Ulu to the south.The Seberang Ilir is the economic and cultural centre and the Seberang Ulu is the political centre.The city was once the capital of the ancient, Hindu kingdom of Srivijaya that controlled a large part of what is now Indonesia, Malaysia and Southern Thailand.In 1025 it as being conquered by the Chola Empire (In the period of Emperor Rajendra Chola I) of southern India .Srivijaya's capital eventually moved northward to Jambi. Palembang is also the origin of Parameswara, founder of the Malacca Sultanate.The architectural legacy of Dutch colonization is still visible in the city.Deep-water port facilities are built along the Musi River, which flows through the city.The naval Battle of Palembang was fought near the city during the Second World War between February 13-February 15, 1942.

Palembangan is a member of the Malay family, the people speak Malay as their language but with their own dialect and they called it Bahasa Palembang or Bahasa Musi.Other people that are not native to Palembang but still came from South Sumatra usually blended their language with Bahasa Palembang, such as Bahasa Komering, Lahat, Rawas, etc.There are also people that came from outside South Sumatra.Most of them are Javanese, Chinese, Arab, Indian, Minangkabau, and Sundanese.The major religion in Palembang is Muslim.But many of the inhabitants also practice Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Konghucu.Palembang's economy has been developed significantly since it became a host for a National Sporting Event in 2004. The city government has set a revenue target of IDR 3.5 billion from advertising alone.Palembang was also one of hosts of the 2007 AFC Asian Cup.

Since ancient times, Palembang is a cosmopolitan port city absorbs neighboring as well as foreign cultures and influences. The influences and cultures of coastal Malay, inland Minangkabau, Javanese, Indian, Chinese, and Arab, has created rich Palembang culture.Throughout its history, Palembang has attracted migrants from other regions in the archipelago, has made this city as a multi-cultural city. Although today the city had lost its function as the major port city in the archipelago, the remnants of its heyday still evident in its culture.Most of its population was then adopted the culture of coastal Malays and Javanese.Even now it can be seen in its culture and language. Word such as "wong (person)" is an example of Javanese loanword in Palembang language. Also the Javanese knight and noble honorific titles, such as Raden Mas or Raden Ayu is used by Palembang nobles, the remnant of Palembang Sultanate courtly culture.The tombs of the Islamic heritage was not different in form and style with Islamic tombs in Java.

How to Reach

By Air

The city is served by Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II Airport which has scheduled flights to many cities in Indonesia and also to Singapore by Silk Air and Malaysia by Sriwijaya Air.The latter destination being only recently offered by the airport since it has been upgraded to an international airport. This airport also serves other cities around South Sumatra Province.

By Ferries

The Boom Baru Harbor is the main harbor of Palembang, it is located and also connected Palembang with Bangka-Belitung Islands Province.Palembang also has three main harbors, Boom Baru Harbor (which is the main harbor of Palembang, located on the north shore of Musi River), 36 Ilir Harbor, and Tanjung Api-api Harbor.From here frequent ferries connect Palembang to Muntok Harbor in Bangka Island, Bangka-Belitung Islands Province and also to Batam Island.

By Bus

Palembang residents use a network of city mini-bus routes for the main form of public transport.There are also traditional and speed boats that serve the people who live near the riverside.The traditional boat is called the Ketek/sampan.

Key places to visit
Masjid Agung Grand Mosque, Kemaro Island, Museum Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II, Kuto Besak Fortress, South Sumatra Museum


Places to Visit

Masjid Agung Grand Mosque

This mosque has been renovated a few times already.Now it is a very large and beautiful mosque. In some sections of the mosque you can see old Sriwijayan style architecture.It is located in front of the main roundabout in Palembang which you will pass coming from the Musi Bridge.

Kemaro Island

Visit the Kemaro Island that sits in the middle of the Musi river, where stands a large Buddhist temple and the grave of a Chinese princess, who was destined to wed a Srivijaya king.The island is today the center of the Cap Go Meh celebrations.During Cap Go Meh, Chinese communities from around the city squeeze into this small piece of land, together with those coming from Hongkong, Singapore and China.They arrive here on local transport called ketek, which are small boats with noisy engines, on ferries, speed boats, and decorated dragon boats alighting from the Intirub factory or from Kuto Besak Fort.

Museum Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II

Located on the riverbank of the Musi, the museum exhibits various collections ranging from archeology, ethnography, biology, arts and especially numismatics, the study or collection of currencies.Here, you can find many historical remnants from photo collections of the Kedukan Bukit inscriptions, ancient statues of Buddha and the Ganesha Amarawati, as well as various other remnants including those from the Sriwijaya era.

Kuto Besak Fortress

Standing atop the 10 meters high and 288.75 meters long thick walls of Kuto Besak Fortress, one looks down on the passing boats and ships on the Musi River below.Built during the 17th century, Kuto Besak Fort is a legacy of the Palembang Darussalam Sultanate, that ruled from 1550-1823. Acting as a defense post, the location of the Fortress is both politically and geographically strategic as it forms and island on its own, bordered by on its south by the Musi River, the Sekanak River on its west, the Kapuran River on its north, and the Tengkuruk River on its east.

South Sumatra Museum

The South Sumatra Museum consists of two smaller museums, Balaputera Dewa and Sriwijaya.This museum is more popularly known as Balaputera Dewa Museum.The Balaputera Dewa Museum also has collections of Limas and Ulu traditional houses, and statue wards.The Sriwijaya Museum is a special museum for historical objects of the Sriwijaya kingdom which lasted from the 7th to 13th centuries.It has 191 collections.Both museums are only closed on Mondays and national public holidays.They are open from 08:00 to 15:30, except for Saturdays and Fridays, which are half days.The entrance fee to Balaputera Dewa Museum is Rp 500 (5 cents US) per child and Rp 1,500 (15 cents US) per adult.The entrance fee to the Sriwijaya Museum is only Rp 250 (2.5 cents US) per child and Rp 500 (5 cents US) per adult.

Right Time to Visit

April - July
October - December


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