Travel Guide

South Sulawesi Region Overview

South Sulawesi Overview

South Sulawesi (Indonesian say Sulawesi Selatan, short form Sulsel) is a province of Indonesia, located on the western southern peninsula of Sulawesi island. The province is bordered by Central Sulawesi province to the North, South East Sulawesi province to the east and West Sulawesi province to the west (West Sulawesi province was split from South Sulawesi in 2004). The capital city of South Sulawesi is Makassar (formerly know Ujung Pandang) and also as the biggest city on Sulawesi Island.

This Island has been inhabited by people since about 30,000 years ago, it is proven by the sign found in cave near the limestone hills not far from Maros town its about 30 km north east of Makassar the capital of South Sulawesi province. There are possibility that the oldest civilization in this island was at Walennae valley, a place between Soppeng and Sengkang where tool made of pebble and flake were found. Fossil from the extinct species of pig, deer and elephan were also found around this area. During the golden age of spice trade in the 15th till the 19th centuries, South Sulawesi played a role as the gate to Mollucan Island, the land of spices. The mighty kingdoms of Makassar and Bone as mentioned in the past history of the eastern part of Indonesia, had played an important role.

Before the Republic of Indonesia has it proclamation, South Sulawesi is inhabited by four main etnic groups namely is : Bugis, Makassar, Mandar and Toraja. The people of the first three etnic have been know as patriotic and brave sailor both during and after the war was over. With the traditional sailing boats, they sail across the seas of Indonesia to the Northern part of Australia, a number of island in Pacific Ocean and to the African Coast.
There three big empires that have big influence, those are Luwu, Gowa, and Bone, which at XVI century and XVII century reach their glorious, and has trade relation with Europeans, India, China, Malay, and Arab.

The Toraja people is well know with their specific and strong culture, it can be seen in the Funeral death ceremonial, Traditional house with arch shaped roog and beautiful carvings with natural color. An ethnic group who believes that their forefathers descended from heaven onto a mountain some twenty generations ago, the Torajas have a unique culture based on animistic beliefs. Known for their grand burial ceremonies on cliffs or hanging graves, they practice an ancestral cult even today where death and afterlife ceremonies are great feasts when buffaloes are sacrificed in the funeral death ceremony, after which the deceased's remains are placed in a coffin and interred in caves hollowed out in high cliffs. The mouth of the cave is guarded by lifelike statues, looking out from a "balcony". As death has such an "important meaning" when the souls are released, burials are elaborate and follow days of feasting. Rock graves are also a form of burial. A strict hierarchy is followed in the villages.They are known for their unusual customs; today most are Christians. The Toraja also resisted the Dutch until the first decade of the 20th Century.

The Bugis vessels have sailed as far as the Australian beach, leaving behind drawings of their ships on stone with words that have been integrated into the Aboriginal language of north Australia. Situated on the crossroads of well-traveled sea-lanes, its capital and chief trading port of Makassar, till today the gateway to eastern Indonesia. Spanish and Portuguese galleons, followed by British and Dutch traders sailed these seas in search of the spice trade, escorted by their men of war to protect them against the daring raids of the Bugis and Makassar who attacked the intruders. The most famous Bugis leaders were kings of Bone, which is called Watampone. Bugis settlements have scattered as far as Kalimantan and Riau. The kings of Gowa and Bone did much to spread Islam through the area.

The Traditional language used is Makassar, Bugis, Luwu, Toraja, Mandar, Duri, Konjo dan Pattae. Religion of the tribes in South Sulawesi are majority is Muslim, except in Tana Toraja and other parts is Christian.

The Province of South Sulawesi is comprised of 23 Regencies, with three main ethnic groups, Makassarese, Buginese and Torajanese (1 ethnic group is "Mandar" nowadays has become part of the new province, West Sulawesi, but in historically its still remains a part of another ethnic in South Sulawesi). The region's unique culture, ancient traditions, mystical way of life, and ethnic natural beauty make it a notable addition to one's travel experiences. It is a place where travelers interact with both nature and local people, where nature and the people are one, and where both are shared with the visitor.

Tourist attractions in South Sulawesi can be said to be complete compared to other regions in Indonesia. Starting from the sea to the beach, from the mainland to the mountains, you can found many fantastic tourist attractions and the fascinating natural tropical scene, from the underwater to the mountainous area including karst mountains, lakes, waterfalls, culture, traditional house, pinisi boat craftsmen, culinary, diving places, ceremonial, traditional dance, carving, beautiful weaving silk, and many other attractions that you can witnessed during your trip to South Sulawesi area.

Capital : Makassar (formerly known Ujung Pandang).
Area : 72,781 km2 (28,101 sq mi).
Density : 103 /km2 (270 /sq mi).
Local Ethnic groups : Makassares, Buginese, Torajanese.
Religion : Mostly Moslims.
Time zone : UTC+8.

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