HISTORY

North Sumatra is a large province stretching from the indian Ocean in the west to the Straits of Malaka in the East and from Aceh in the north to West Sumatra in the south. It is thick with virgin forests, lush vegetation and jungle covered hills, terraced ricefields, cool mountain streams, strong rivers, beautiful waterfalls, peaceful white sandy beaches and large ancient lakes.

The people of the region are hospitable and warm and can be divided into five main ethnic groups; the Coastal Malays living along the Malaka Straits; the Bataks consisting of the sub-tribes of Toba, Simalungun, Pak Pak (Dairi) and Karon of the highlands around Lake Toba and Samosir Island; the Pesisirs of Central Tapanuli along the Indian Ocean coastline; the Mandailings and Angkolas from southern Tapanuli and Nias Islanders off the western coast of the province.

 

These groups each have their own dialects, religious beliefs and traditional arts, customs and culture. There are also several ethnic groups who live in Medan and other towns of North Sumatra, the largest of these being Chinese and Indian. Other parts of archipelago are represented, but non more strongly than the Acehnese, Minangkabau and Javanese who now live in many parts of the area. As a result the area is often regarded as constituting a natural museum of Indonesia's proto-Malay heritage in which ancient customs and traditions have been preserved.

The diversity of arts and cultures literally make this region a Garden of Eden for social scientists and culture seekers. It is a treasure chest of culture and tradition waiting to be explored, with ancient graves of Batak kings, unique dances and ceremonies, and beautiful arts and crafts. North Sumatra is also one of the riches provinces in Indonesia for flora and fauna with a wealth of birds, butterflies, buffalo and deer. The province proudly boats of its Orang Utan Rehabilitation Center in the Gunung Leuser National Park which is bordered by the fast flowing Bohorok River and some delightful countryside and of course lake Toba, legendary birthplace of the mountain-dwelling Bataks and the largest inland lake in Southest Asia.

The region also produces more than 30% of Indonesia's export commodities and handles about 60% of them, making it vital cag in the Indonesian economy. Tabacco, palm oil, tea and rubber are produced in large quantities, particulary around Medan in the north of the province.

 
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