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EXPLORE SULAWESI

Marvels all around the island

Sulawesi, formerly known as Celebes  is one of the 5 main Indonesian islands (with Java, Sumatra, Borneo, Papua) and the 11th-largest island worldwide.

The name Celebes was originally given to the island by Portuguese explorers. It is widely considered a Portuguese rendering of the native name “Sulawesi”.

The name Sulawesi possibly comes from the words sula (“island”) and besi (“iron”), and may refer to the historical export of iron from the Lake Matano. The name came into common use in English following Indonesian independence.

South-Sulawesi has a fertile, low rice area, high rising mountains, a dry southern zone and an exceptionally long coastal area scattered with fishing boats. Millions of Buginese live along the remote coastal areas and in big parts of the fertile lowlands. People live from the land as well as from the sea. Rice is abundant from the well-irigated sawah (“rice fields”) in the lowlands, while the low hills of the province bring other important products like corn, cassave, sesame, pepper, clove, nutmeg, coffee, cacao, coconuts and bananas.

The four big ethnic groups (Buginese, Makasarese, Toraja and Mandarese) speak related languages. Each language has dozens of dialects, of which many of them are connected to the old kingdoms.

Buginese are also known for colonizing remote shore with their sailing skills and their famous Phinisi: a traditional two-masted sailing ship. It was mainly built by Konjo tribes in Bulukumba regency. It is now widely spread within Indonesian archipelago for inter-insular transportation, tourism, cargo and fishing. UNESCO awarded Phinisi boat-building art as ”Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage” in 2017.

As you can see, Sulawesi with its amazing ancient culture has much more to offer than kitesurfing !

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