Your Guide to Vacation AMAZING INDONESIA ( holiday travel guide )

Nīas (Indonesian Pulau Nias, Nias Language: Tanö Niha) is an island off the western coast of Sumatra Indonesia. Nias (Kepulauan Nias) is also the name of the archipelago, including the small Hinako Islands.

Nias Island covers an area of 5,121.3 km2 (1,977.3 sq mi) (including minor offshore islands). It is mostly a lowland area rising to around 800 m (2,600 ft) above sea level. There were 756,338 inhabitants on the island (including minor offshore islands) at the 2010 Census. The latest estimate for January 2014 is 788,132. It is located in a chain of islands parallel to the west coast of Sumatra ; Simeulue is about 140 km (87 mi) northwest, and the Batu Islands (which are administered as part of Nias and have an ethnically similar population) are located about 80 km (50 mi) southeast. This chain, which resurfaces in Nusa Tenggara in the mountainous islands of Sumba and Timor, is the forearc of the South Sumatra Basin along the Sunda Trench subdiction Zone.

Nias is the largest of the islands off Sumatra that are part of North Sumatera province. This archipelago consists of 131 islands, of which Nias Island is the biggest. The population in this area was 756,762 inhabitants at the 2010 Census, including Ono Niha (the indigenous inhabitants of the island), Malay, Batak, and Chinese; in January 2014 the population had risen to almost 1.000.000. Until 2003 Nias was an administrative regency (kabupaten) covering the entire island, part of the province of North Sumatera. Since 2003 it was split into five regencies : Gunungsitoly City, Nias, North Nias (Nias Utara), West Nias (Nias Barat) and Nias Selatan (South Nias). Subsequently the island was divided further, with the creation of two further regencies from parts of the former Nias Regency – Nias Barat (West Nias) and Nias Utara (North Nias) – and the designation of Gunungsitoli as an autonomous city independent of the four regencies. Gunungsitoli remains the capital city of Nias regency and it is the center of administration and business affairs of the Nias regency. Teluk Dalam is the capital of Nias Selatan, Lotu is capital of North Nias and Lahõmi is capital of West Nias. The first ancestors of Nias were Austromelanesoid race from Hoabinth at 10,000 B.C. and then came more advance Austronesians from Taiwan which shifted the existence of the Austromelanesoids.

Isolated yet worldly, the Nias Island chain has been trading since prehistory with other cultures, other islands, and even mainland Asia. Some historians and archaeologists have cited the local culture as one of the few remaining Megalithic cultures in existence today. While this point of view is hotly debated, there is no doubt that Nias' relative geographic isolation has created a unique culture. As a culture of traders, the people of Nias find tourists to be a welcome – and historically familiar – phenomenon. Nias is best known for its diversity of festivals and celebration. The most well-known events are War Dances, performed regularly for tourists, and Stone Jumping, a manhood ritual that sees young men leaping over two meter stone towers to their fate. In the past the top of the stone board is covered with spikes and sharp pointed bamboo. The music of Nias, performed mostly by women, is noted worldwide for its haunting beauty.

All parties in the North Sumatra Legislative Council have agreed to the formation of a Nias Island province (comprising Nias, Nias Selatan, Nias Utara and Nias Barat regencies, and Gunungsitoli municipality). It has been approved at a regional plenary session on 2 May 2011, but still awaits approval from Central government, which has not yet enacted the grand design for additional provinces. The new province will thus cover an area identical to the original Nias Regency prior to the latter's division in 2003.Apart from Nias Island itself, the province will include the smaller Batu Islands (Pulau-pulau Batu) to the south, lying between Nias and Siberut; the Batu Islands form two districts within South Nias Regency. The first ancestors of Nias were Austromelanesoid race from Hoabinth at 10,000 B.C. and then came more advance Austronesians from Taiwan which shifted the existence of the Austromelanesoids.

The predominant religion is Protestant Christianity. Six out of seven Niasans are Protestant; the remainder are about evenly divided between Muslim (mostly immigrants from elsewhere in Indonesia) and Catholic. However adherence to either Christian or Muslim religions is still largely symbolic; Nias continues into current day celebrating its own indigenous culture and traditions as the primary form of spiritual expression. The people of Nias build Omo Sebua houses (traditional house) on massive ironwood pillars with towering roofs. Not only were they almost impregnable to attack in former tribal warfare, their flexible nail-less construction provide proven earthquake durability
Nias is home not only to a unique human culture but also endemic fauna which differ from other areas of North Sumatra because of the island's remote location separate from Sumatra.
Nias is an internationally famous Surfing destination. The best known surfing area is Sorake Bay, close to the town of Teluk Dalam , on the southern tip.

Enclosed by the beaches of Lagundri and Sorake, the bay has both left and right-hand breaks. As they wait for waves, surfers can often see sea turtles swimming below. There are also two consistent, world-class waves in the nearby Hinako Islands, Asu and Bawa. Many lesser-known, high-quality surf spots with low crowds await adventurous travelers. Nias was part of the famousHippie Trail of the 1960s, particularly traveled by surfers, which led to Bali.

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