Banda Aceh

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Banda Aceh
بندا اچيه
Official seal of Banda Aceh
Nickname(s): Kota Seribu Warung Kopi
Motto: Saboeh Pakat Tabangun Banda
Banda Aceh is located in Sumatra
Banda Aceh
Banda Aceh
Location of the city in northern Sumatra
Banda Aceh is located in Indonesia
Banda Aceh
Banda Aceh
Location of the city in Indonesia
Coordinates: 5°33′0″N 95°19′0″E / 5.55000°N 95.31667°E / 5.55000; 95.31667Coordinates: 5°33′0″N 95°19′0″E / 5.55000°N 95.31667°E / 5.55000; 95.31667ID
Country Indonesia
Province Aceh
Founded 22 April 1205
 • Mayor Illiza Sa'aduddin Djamal
 • City 61.36 km2 (23.69 sq mi)
 • Metro 2,935,36 km2 (113,335 sq mi)
Elevation 0-10 m (0-32.9 ft)
Population (2010)
 • City 220,433
 • Density 3,457/km2 (8,950/sq mi)
 • Metro 513,698
 • Metro density 0.175/km2 (0.45/sq mi)
Time zone WIB (UTC+7)
 • Summer (DST) WIB (UTC+7)
Postal code 23000
Area code(s) +62 651
License plate BL XXX XX

Banda Aceh or Banda Acèh is the capital and largest city in the province of Aceh, Indonesia. It is located on the island of Sumatra and has an elevation of 35 meters. The city regency covers an area of 64 square kilometres and had a population of 219,070 people, according to the 2000 census.[1] Banda Aceh is located at the northwestern tip of Indonesia at the mouth of the River Krueng Aceh.

The city was originally named Koetaradja/Kutaraja, and became the provincial capital in 1956.[2] Kuta Raja means "City of the King," in reference to the founding of the Aceh Sultanate from Champa origins. Later its name was changed to Bandar Aceh Darussalam, popularly known as Bandar Aceh. The first part of the name comes from the Persian bandar (بندر) meaning "port" or "haven." Today the city is spelled Banda Aceh, with the loss of "r" in "Bandar". The city is also dubbed to as the "port to Mecca," or the "porch of Mecca" (Indonesian: Serambi Mekkah). This is because during the days when the hajj pilgrims travelled by sea, hajj pilgrims from all over Indonesia would make a stop over in the city before continuing their journey to Mecca. It is also known that some of the earliest Southeast Asian Islamic sultanates—such as Samudra Pasai—were first established in Aceh, which means Islam first arrived in Aceh before spreading throughout Southeast Asia.

Banda Aceh was not frequently the subject of international discussion until 26 December 2004, the day the Indian Ocean earthquake struck off the western coast of Sumatra. Banda Aceh was the closest major city to the earthquake's epicenter, and it suffered further damage when a tsunami struck shortly afterward. It was the most severely hit of the locations affected. One hundred sixty-seven thousand people died and many more were injured.[3] The tsunami was caused by an earthquake with a magnitude of 9.3 that struck at about 6:58 am.[4] The epicenter was about 155 miles off the coast of Banda Aceh.[5]

The elected mayor and vice-mayor of Banda Aceh are Mawardi Nurdin and Illiza Saaduddin.[citation needed]


Koetaradja/Banda Aceh old map
Banda Aceh aerial view after tsunami disaster, 2004

Banda Aceh, the capital of the Sultanate of Aceh Darussalam, was established when the kingdom of Samudera Pasai was on the verge of collapse in the 14th century. The sultanate was built on the ruins of the kingdoms of Hinduism and Buddhism, such as the Kingdom of Indra Patra, and the Kingdom Indrapura (Indrapuri).

After a long period of rule by Muslim Sultans, in the second half of the 18th century Aceh began to come into conflict with the Dutch and the British. At the end of the 18th century, the territory of Aceh in the Malay Peninsula, namely Kedah and Pulau Pinang were seized by the British. In 1871, the Dutch began to threaten Aceh, and on March 26, 1873, the Dutch formally declared war on Aceh. In the war, the Dutch failed to conquer Aceh and for the first time in the history of the archipelago, a Dutch war leader was killed by natives. In 1883, 1892 and 1893, the war erupted again, and the Dutch succeeded to secure their interests. New resistance bases in rural areas continued to emerge.

A cholera outbreak moved across Aceh, killing many troops. Even the Sultan of Aceh who had retreated with his troops had become infected and died from it. The massive evacuation of troops out of Banda Aceh was immediately celebrated by Van Swieten, who proclaimed the fall of the sultanate and changed its name to Kutaraja. Looking at the data at the Officers' Tomb in Kherkoff, Banda Aceh, the victims continued to die until 1911.

After it entered the Government of the Republic of Indonesia on December 28, 1962, the name of the city was changed back to Banda Aceh by the Ministry of Public Administration and Regional Autonomy dated May 9, 1963.

On December 26, 2004, the city was hit by a tsunami caused by the 9.2-magnitude earthquake in the Indian Ocean. The disaster killed 167,000 inhabitants and destroyed more than 60% of the city's buildings. Based on the statistical data issued by the City Government of Banda Aceh, the population of Banda Aceh population to 248,727 inhabitants in May of 2012.

Administrative divisions[edit]

Mayor office of Banda Aceh

Banda Aceh is divided into nine districts (Indonesian: kecamatan):


One of the unique features of Banda Aceh are the motorized becaks that are found almost everywhere. Unlike traditional becaks, a motorized becak can take passengers anywhere in the city. The fare for riding a motorised becak is relatively cheap and is usually negotiated beforehand.

Transport by taxis and minibuses (known as labi-labi) is also common.

Sultan Iskandar Muda International Airport is located in Blang Bintang, 13.5 km from Banda Aceh.

Two main highways run out of Banda Aceh to the south. One runs down the eastern side of the province through main towns such as Bireuen and Lhokseumawe to Medan, the large capital of the province of North Sumatra. The other highway runs down the western side of the province through lesser-populated areas to the towns of Calang, Meulaboh, and Singkil. The main bus station called Terminal Terpadu Batoh is located at Jalan Mr. Teuku Muhammad Hasan.

Banda Aceh has two sea ports, Pelabuhan (port) Ulèë Lheuë and Pelabuhan Malahayati.[6]

  • Pelabuhan Ulèë Lheuë was formerly the main sea port in Aceh. It now functions as ferry terminal. It is located in the Meuraksa area.
  • Pelabuhan Malahayati, the current main sea port, is located in Krueng Raya, 27 km from Banda Aceh. It now functions as a main freight cargo terminal.


The TVRI Aceh (state-owned), Kutaraja TV and Aceh TV (private) are the three local TV stations in Banda Aceh. The oldest newspaper in Banda Aceh, also around Aceh are Harian Serambi Indonesia, besides several newspapers, such as Harian Aceh, Harian Waspada, Harian ProHaba, and Harian RajaPost.


Football is the most popular sport, and Giants Football Club from Aceh, Persiraja Banda Aceh is the most popular team.


Banda Aceh at night

Banda Aceh features a tropical rainforest climate under the Köppen climate classification, with near constant average temperatures. The city annual average temperature is 27 degrees Celsius and most days in Banda Aceh hovers around this mark. However, the city features wetter and drier seasons, with June through August being the driest months of the year. Like all cities with a tropical rainforest climate, Banda Aceh does not have a true dry season month; a month where less than 60 mm of precipitation falls on average. The city experiences on average a little less than 2000 mm of precipitation annually.

Climate data for Banda Aceh
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Daily mean °C (°F) 27.01
Precipitation mm (inches) 256
Avg. rainy days 8.5 5.9 7.8 8.8 12.4 10.3 9.2 10.6 12.5 15.5 14.3 12.7 128.5
Source: [7]


The Baiturrahman Grand Mosque, located in the heart of Banda Aceh, is the most famous landmarks in the city. The original mosque was built around the 12th century during the Sultanate of Iskandar Muda (1607–1636). It was rebuilt in 1875 after it was burnt down in the Aceh war. The architecture and interior design of the mosque is notable for having seven domes and four smaller towers along with a main tower. The mosque can accommodate up to 9,000 people.



Gunongan is a private playground and bathing place, built by Sultan Iskandar Muda, dedicated to his wife Putroe Phang. Gunongan was part of royal garden complex Taman Sari.[8]

Tsunami-related Sites

Tsunami Museum

A number of places near to the centre of Banda Aceh have been established as reminders of, and to provide information about, the impact of the December 2004 tsunami in the city. These include several mass burial centres such as the graves at Ulee Lheue, several places where boats were carried several kilometers inland by the tsunami (PLTD Apung 1, or the "Floating Diesel Plant", and the "Floating Boat on the Roof"), and the Tsunami Museum. The PLTD Apung 1 had been located near the Ule Lheu beach before being shifted close to the city centre; now it has become one of the most important landmarks in Banda Aceh.

Dutch Kerkhoff Poucut Cemetery

Kerkhoff Poucut entry gate

The Kerkhoff Poucut is a Dutch military burial ground located near the centre of Banda Aceh, next to the Tsunami Museum. The cemetery name is a combination of Kerkhof (Dutch for churchyard or graveyard) and poucut or poteu cut (Acehnese for prince). The Kerkhoff Poucut is recorded as the largest Dutch military cemetery outside the Netherlands. There are around 2,200 graves of white Dutch soldiers as well as recruits from Ambon, Manado and Java, as well as several Dutch generals.[9]

Aceh museum

The Aceh Museum is one of the oldest museums in Indonesia. The original museum was established almost 100 years ago. After Independence in 1945 the museum became the property of the regional government. In 1969 the museum was moved from the original site at Blang Padang to the current location in Jl Sultan Alaiddin Mahmudsyah. The museum contains a wide range of artifacts relating to the history and cultural life of Aceh.


Besides its landmarks, royal heritage sites, and attractive beaches, Banda Aceh is also famous for its keudè kupi (coffee shop) where specially brewed coffee is served. There are two kind of brewed coffees Ulèë Karéng and Beurawé coffee.[10][11]

Several festivals are held annually by the City:[12]

  • Banda Aceh Festival
  • Festival Krueng Aceh Peunayong
  • Festival Geulayang Tunang (kite festival)
  • Festival Kupi, etc.
  • Indonesia City Expo

There are three beaches close to Banda Aceh which can visited by car or motor cycle in 15 to 20 minutes:[13]

  • Ujông Batèë Beach, a black sand beach with calm waves, suitable for swimming and kids activities
  • Lhôk Nga Beach, dangerous for swimming
  • Lam Pu'uk Beach, very quiet, the most developed beach, visited by local and foreign tourists, suitable for surfing and watching the sunset; has cliffs and good scenery


The religion of the majority of the population is Islam, with minorities including Buddhists, Christians (both Protestant and Catholic), and Hindus.

Banda Aceh is home to four long-standing churches: the Hati Kudus Catholic church, Western Indonesian Protestant church (GPIB), Methodist church and the Batak Protestant church (HKBP). There are 93 mosques and 112 musholla (small mosques). There is a Buddhist temple and a Hindu temple in the city.[14]

The Hindu community consists of both Balinese Hindus and Tamil Hindus who originate from India.[15]

Sister cities[edit]

  1. Uzbekistan Samarkand, Uzbekistan[16]
  2. Netherlands Apeldoorn, Netherlands[17][18]
  3. Yemen Sana'a, Yemen
  4. Indonesia Martapura, South Kalimantan


  1. ^ Seta,William J. Atlas Lengkap Indonesia dan Dunia (untuk SD, SMP, SMU, dan Umum). Pustaka Widyatama. p. 7. ISBN 979-610-232-3. 
  2. ^ Government of Indonesia (25 October 1956). "UU 24/1956, Establishment of Regional Autonomy in the Province of Aceh and Replacement of Regulation about the Establishment of the Province of North Sumatra". Indonesia Ministry of Justice and Law. UU 24/1956. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 2 September 2007. 
  3. ^ Jayasuriya, Sisira and Peter McCawley in collaboration with Bhanupong Nidhiprabha, Budy P. Resosudarmo and Dushni Weerakoon, The Asian Tsunami: Aid and Reconstruction after a Disaster, Cheltenham UK and Northampton MA USA: Edward Elgar and Asian Development Bank Institute, 2010.
  4. ^ Jayasuriya and McCawley, ibid.
  5. ^ John Pike, 'Banda Aceh', accessed 23 January 2011.
  6. ^ "Pelabuhan". Retrieved 2013-12-09. 
  7. ^ "Banda Aceh, Indonesia – Solar energy and surface meteorology". August 2011. Retrieved 2013-12-09. 
  8. ^ "Gunongan". Retrieved 2013-12-09. 
  9. ^ Hotli Semanjuntak, 'Kerkhoff Poucut Cemetery, testifying to the Aceh War', The Jakarta Post, 20 March 2012.
  10. ^ "Coffee Shopping". Retrieved 2013-12-09. 
  11. ^ "Cafe in Aceh". Retrieved 2013-12-09. 
  12. ^ "Festival". Retrieved 2013-12-09. 
  13. ^ "Menikmati hembusan keindahan pantai Aceh". 2011-03-27. Retrieved 2013-12-09. 
  14. ^ "Banda Aceh to act quickly to prevent religious conflicts". The Jakarta Post. 2012-12-19. Retrieved 2013-07-08. 
  15. ^ "Google Translate". 2012-03-22. Retrieved 2013-07-08. 
  16. ^ "Banda Aceh – Samarkand". Retrieved 2013-12-09. 
  17. ^ "Dutch – Indonesian sister cities". Retrieved 2013-12-09. 
  18. ^ "Sister Cities". Retrieved 2013-12-09. 


External links[edit]