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Bandar Lampung History, Indonesia

Bandar Lampung is the name of the capital of the Lampung province. Lampung literally means the land of the southerly winds and is a geographically flat region with some mountains. The higher mountains are primarily dormant volcanoes, now enhancing the beauty of the province. Bandar Lampung is a port city under the Kotamadya municipality.

Bandar Lampung’s original name was Tanjungkarang-Telukbetung, as it was formed  combining two separate towns, Tanjunkarang and the port of Telukbetung. The Telukbetung town being a port is right next to the sea and the town of Tanjungkarang is situated in the hills behind and today, is part of the administration of the capital. The two towns had been covered completely by volcanic ash during the eruption of volcanoes in Krakatau. A remnant of this explosion is a massive metallic buoy, which was washed up the shore from the Lampung Bay, and today stands in a park on Jalan Veteran as the Krakatau monument. The volcanic eruption had also killed 35000 people on the two sides. The two, Telukbetung and Tanjunkarang, then got merged into one city, which was renamed as Bandar Lampung in 1983. However, even after two and a half decades of amalgamation, people talk of Teluk Betung and Tanjung Karang. The city is strategically located in a hilly terrain at the tip of the Lampung Bay on the southern Sumatran coast, offering a stunning view of the Lampung Bay. It serves as a transit point between Java and the Sumatran provinces. It has remained a link to places though not as a significant tourist destination in itself.

 A brief look at the antiquity

The earliest record of the area is found in Chinese scriptures, which bear proof of inhabitation here as early as the 7th century. It has culturally evolved under external influences of Hinduism and Buddhism, though the dominant influence was from the Malayan Polynesian era. The Muslim influence can also be traced as far back as the seventh century, though one set of historians believe that the Muslim influence penetrated only in the fourteenth and fifteenth century, into a predominantly Hindu and Buddhist community. The towns were known to hold a position of immense importance in Sriwijaya, Indonesia’s great maritime empire.

 Contemporary city

Today, Bandar Lampung is one of the fast developing cities of Indonesia, with agriculture and agriculture-related activities forming the major work force. Since the time of its formation the city has had a network of cottage industries like metal working, hand weaving, tile making, and pottery. It has provided a link to the rest of the world through its air, land, sea and rail links to important destinations. It has been a significant port since ancient times, and even today is used to export the province’s agricultural produce.

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