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For other uses, see Medan (disambiguation).
Kota Medan (Indonesian)
Official seal of
Motto: Bekerja sama dan sama-sama bekerja (Collaborate and working together)
Location of Medan in Sumatera Utara province of Indonesia
Location of Medan in Sumatera Utara province of Indonesia
Medan is located in Indonesia
Location of Medan in Sumatera Utara province of Indonesia
Coordinates: 3°35′N 98°40′E / 3.583°N 98.667°E / 3.583; 98.667Coordinates: 3°35′N 98°40′E / 3.583°N 98.667°E / 3.583; 98.667
Country Indonesia
Province North Sumatra
Founded 1 July 1590
 • Mayor Rahudman Harahap (elected by mayor election in 2010)
Dzulmi Eldin (acting)
 • City 265.10 km2 (102.36 sq mi)
 • Metro 2,739.92 km2 (1,057.89 sq mi)
Elevation 2.5-37.5 m (8-123 ft)
Population (2010)
 • City 2,097,610
 • Density 7,912/km2 (20,490/sq mi)
 • Urban 2,046,973
 • Metro 4,144,583
 • Metro density 1,500/km2 (3,900/sq mi)
Time zone WIB (UTC+7)
Area code(s) +62 61
Website Official Government Website

Medan (Indonesian pronunciation: [meˈdan]; Indonesian: Kota Medan) is the capital of the North Sumatra province in Indonesia. Located on the northern coast, Medan is the fourth largest city in Indonesia behind Jakarta, Surabaya, Bandung and the largest Indonesian city outside Java.[1] The city is bordered by the Deli Serdang Regency to the east, south and west, and the Strait of Malacca to the north.


Kesawan in the 1920s
Medan in the 1920s
Governor-General Dirk Fock visiting the Great Mosque, 1925

Medan started as a village called Kampung Medan (Medan Village). Kampung Medan was founded by Guru Patimpus around the 1590s. Because Kampung Medan sits on Tanah Deli (Land of Deli), Kampung Medan is also referred as Medan-Deli. The original location of Kampung Medan is an area where the Deli River meets the Babura River.

Based on the diary of the Portuguese merchant in early 16th century, it stated that the name of Medan was actually derived from Medina which is the holiest city in Saudi Arabia after Mecca. However, other sources indicated that the name of Medan actually came from Indian Hindi language word "Maidan" meaning "ground" or "land"(like in Pragati Maidan in Delhi). One of the Karo-Indonesia dictionary written by Darwin Prinst SH published in 2002 wrote that Medan could also be defined as "recover" or "be better".

The first inhabitants of Medan came from the Malays of the Malay Peninsula, the Mandailings from the Mandailing Natal Regency and the Karonese who originated from the Karo Highlands. It was not until the Sultan of Aceh, Sultan Iskandar Muda, sent his warlord, Gocah Pahlawan Laksamana Khoja Bintan, to be the Sultanate of Aceh's representative in Tanah Deli, that the Sultanate of Deli started to grow. This growth stimulated growth in both the population and culture of Medan. In the second year reign of Sultan Deli (between 1669–1698), there was a cavalry battle in Medan.

Medan did not experience significant development until the 1860s, when the Dutch colonialists began clearing the land for tobacco plantations. Medan quickly became a center of government and commercial activity, dominating development of Indonesia's western region.

The Dutch governed Tanah Deli from 1858, after Sultan Ismail, ruler of the Siak Sultanate, yielded some of his once-ruled land, Deli, Langkat, and Serdang. In 1915 Medan officially became the capital of North Sumatra Province, and officially a city in 1918.

Currently much of Medans historic architecture from the colonial era is rapidly being demolished to make way for modern buildings (malls, garages, etc.).[2]


Medan is in the northeastern Sumatra island, in Sumatera Utara province. Medan lies on the Deli River, which feeds into a naturally sheltered harbor and then into the Straits of Malacca, has helped the city grow in significance as a trading port.[3] Its elevation is 2.5 - 37.5 metres above sea level. Medan is close to the volcano Sibayak, and Sinabung which just erupted in September 2013 after a 400 year dormant state.


From 2005 Medan was governed by a mayor, Dr. H. Abdillah Ak, MBA (appointed for the period 2005-2010). However, Abdillah and his vice mayor were caught by Indonesian Corruption Eradication Commission officials in 2008. Syamsul Arifin, the Governor of North Sumatra Province, then appointed Affifudin Lubis to become the acting mayor. In 2009, Affifudin Lubis resigned as mayor, and the Governor then appointed Rahudman Harahap to become the mayor. Because Rahudman wanted to be a candidate in the 2010 mayor election, he resigned as mayor. Then Syamsul Arifin himself became the acting mayor. In the 2010 mayor election, Rahudman Harahap was elected mayor. After Rahudman was a suspect in a corruption, his deputy Dzulmi Eldin officially became the acting mayor.[4]

Administrative division[edit]

Medan is divided into 21 districts (Indonesian: kecamatan), tabulated below, and sub-divided into 151 villages or communities (kelurahan):[5][6]


The city is Indonesia's fourth most populous after Jakarta, Surabaya, and Bandung, as well as Indonesia's largest city outside of Java island. The population has risen from 568,000 in 1968[7] fourfold to 2.1 million in 2010. Much of the population lies outside its city limits, especially in Deli Serdang Regency. The official Metropolitan area (Wilayah Metropolitan Medan) contained 4,144,583 inhabitants in 2010. The city's population in 2000 was 33.03% Javanese, 20.93% Batak (consist of Toba, Simalungun, and Pak-pak), 10.65% Chinese, 9.36% Mandailing, 8.6% Minangkabau, and 6.59% Malay.[8] Since Indonesian independence, the Javanese have replaced the Chinese as the largest ethnic group in Medan.

Administrative division Area (km²) Population (2010 Census) Population (2014 Est) Population density (/km²)
Medan (City) 265.10 2,109,330 2,185,789 8,245
Binjai (City) 90.24 246,010 256,502 2,842
Deli Serdang Regency 2,384.62 1,789,243 1,865,695 782.3
Greater Medan 2,739.96 4,144,583 4,307,986 1,572.2

The city has diverse communities, reflecting its history. However, The Mandailings also live here in big numbers and working at the most strategic government position. In addition, there is a large ethnic Javanese community, largely made up of the descendants of people transported from Java in the last century to be employed as contract workers at various plantations in North Sumatra. They are usually known as Pujakesuma (Putra Jawa Kelahiran Sumatera/Sumatra-born Javanese). Their presence in Medan can be marked from various Javanese toponymies in Medan, such as Harjosari, Sarirejo, Sidodadi, Sidomulyo, Sidorame, Sidorejo, Sitirejo, Sudirejo, Tanjungrejo, Tanjungsari, Tegalrejo, Tegalsari, etc.

A highly visible component of Medan's population is the large number of Chinese, who are active in the business sector. The Minangkabau also as merchants, peddlers, and artisans, in addition to as white collar, doctor, lawyer, and journalist.[9] The city also host a sizable community of Tamil descendants who are commonly known as Madrasis or Tamilian. A well-known Tamil neighbourhood is Kampung Madras in the city center, being one of the busiest part of the Medan Town.

Composition by Ethnic Group in Medan on 1930, 1980, 2000
Ethnic Group 1930 1980 2000
Javanese 24.89% 29.41% 33.03%
Batak 2.93% 14.11% 20.93%
Chinese 35.63% 12.8% 10.65%
Mandailing 6.12% 11.91% 9.36%
Minangkabau 7.29% 10.93% 8.6%
Malay 7.06% 8.57% 6.59%
Karo 0.19% 3.99% 4.10%
Aceh -- 2.19% 2.78%
Sunda 1.58% 1.90% --
Others 14.31% 4.13% 3.95%
Source: 1930 and 1980: Usman Pelly;[10] 2000: 2000 census [8]


Under the Köppen climate classification, Medan features a tropical rainforest climate with no real dry season.[11] Medan does have noticeably wetter and drier months, with its driest month (February) on average seeing about one third of the precipitation of its wettest month (October). Temperatures in the city average approximately 27 degrees Celsius throughout the course of the year. Annual precipitation in the Medan is around 1800 mm.

Climate data for Medan
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 30
Average low °C (°F) 23
Rainfall mm (inches) 130
Avg. rainy days 17 18 19 15 13 11 7 3 4 5 12 23 147
Source: .[12]


Medan's Great Mosque
Maimoon Palace
Tjong A Fie's Mansion

There are many old buildings in Medan that still retain their Dutch architecture. These include the old City Hall, the Central Post Office, Titi Gantung (a bridge over the railway) and The Tirtanadi Water Tower, which is Medan City's icon

There are several historic places such as Maimoon Palace (Istana Maimun) built in years 1887–1891, where the Sultan of Deli still lives (the Sultan no longer holds any official power), The Great Mosque of Medan (Masjid Raya) of Medan built in 1906 in the Moroccan style by the Dutch architect A.J. Dingemans,.[13] both location of Maimoon Palace and The Great Mosque are close.The Mosque located on Jalan Sisingamangaraja and The Palace located on Jalan Brigjen Katamso.

Vihara Gunung Timur is a City's oldest Buddhist and Taoism temple, located on Jalan Hang Tuah no.16. Medan Cathedral is the oldest church in the city, when The Dutch settlement still happening the church was named as Indische Kerk/Staatskerk, located on Jalan Diponegoro. Tjong A Fie Mansion is most popular Peranakan's house in the city, located on Jalan Ahmad Yani/Kesawan (Medan's Chinatown) and Sri Mariamman Temple is the first Hindu Temple with Dravidian style in Medan built in 1881 by The Tamilians in the city, located on Jalan Zainul Arifin, The City's Little India or more known as Kampung Madras/Kampung Keling.

Since 2005, a catholic temple, in Indo-Mogul style, devoted to Graha Maria Annai Velangkanni (Our Lady of Good Health), is built in Medan. This particular Saint knows its origin with an apparition in the 17th century in Tamil Nadu, India. The temple is an important building, of two stories and a small tower of seven storeys in Indonesian style, that already attracts attention from the main road (it is situated on Jalan. Sakura III, besides Jalan TB Simatupang).[14]

Rahmat International Wildlife Museum & Gallery, opened in 1999 and is chiefly the most incredible global taxidermy collection you could imagine: multiplied by five! This place has to be seen to be believed - it's the sort of thing that could only happen in Asia! located on Jalan Letjen S.Parman no.309 [15]


Kuala Namu International Airport

The new Kuala Namu International Airport (KNO) which was opened to the public on July 25, 2013 is the latest landmark and pride to the people of Medan. The new airport will boast a capacity of 8.1 million passengers a year.[16] This new most modern airport is a replacement of the old Polonia Airport. Unlike the old Polonia Airport which located in the heart of the city, this new airport is located approx.39 km (24 mi) from downtown. Taking the train to the Kuala Namu International Airport is the easiest and fastest (30 minutes) way at the moment and it cost Rp.80,000 one way. The train schedule from Medan to Kualanamu International Airport is: 03.55; 04.50; 06.15; 08.20; 11.10; 13.45; 15.15; 17.15; 19.20; and 20.00. The train schedule from Kualanamu International Airport to Medan city is: 05.05; 06.30; 08.00; 09.25; 12.25; 14.45; 16.25; 18.30; 20.45; and 24.15.The train from Kuala Namu International Airport to Medan city is about 45 minute. Train ticket can be paid in cash, debit/credit card of some national banks, and Visa.

Belawan's Port

Taxi transfers will cost you about Rp 150,000 per car and only special taxi with sticker can enter the airport. The official taxi companies serving the airport are Puskopau, Blue Bird, Kokapura, Express, Karsa, Matra and Nice; please be aware of taxis without sticker, although have the same brands with the sticker taxis. Air-conditioned "Damri" buses departs every 15 minutes to the airport from 05:00 to 23:00. There are two bus services serving the Airport-Medan route: Airport-Medan Fair (Rp15,000) and Airport-Amplas (Rp10,000). Taxi and bus will take 60 to 90 minutes from Medan to the airport, because there are several traffic jam locations. for further information please see

One of the unique features of Medan are the motorized pedicab that are found almost everywhere. Unlike traditional becaks, a motorized becak can take its passenger anywhere in the city. The fare of riding a becak is relatively low and is usually negotiated beforehand.

Motorized becak in city of Medan
Medan's Commuter train

There are also more common means of transport like taxis and minibuses, known as sudako.

Railroad tracks connect Medan to Binjai and Tanjungpura to the northwest, to port of Belawan to the north, to Tebing Tinggi and Pematang Siantar to the southeast, and also Rantau Prapat among other cities. The largest train station in Medan is Medan Station. There are also smaller stations in Medan, such as Medan Pasar, Pulu Brayan, Titi Papan, and Labuhan, and Belawan. Titi Papan and Pulu Brayan only serve as the stop for freight trains carrying oil palm and petroleum. The seaport of Belawan is about 20 km to the north.

A toll highway connects Medan to Belawan and Tanjungmorawa. A plan for the extension of this highway to Kuala Namu International Airport, Tebing Tinggi and to Binjai has been completed, and the central government is currently seeking investors to build the extension.


The TVRI Medan (state-owned) and Deli TV (private) are the two local television stations in Medan. Several local newspapers are running in the city with Harian Mimbar Umum as the oldest one. Other popular newspapers include Harian Waspada, Harian Analisa, Berita Sore, Harian Global, Harian Medan Bisnis, Posmetro Medan, Suara Indonesia Baru, dan "Tribun Medan".


Football is one of the favorite sports, with five local clubs: PSMS Medan, Medan Jaya, Medan Chiefs, Bintang PSMS and Medan United; and a basketball club named Angsapura Sania. Another locally popular sport is Wushu, with significant growth in recent years as one of the favorite sports in Medan. It has its training center in Plaju Street in heart of town. Medan has recently seen much success in Wushu nationally and internationally. Medan has a has a multi-purpose stadium named Teladan Stadium. This stadium used mostly for football matches and become a home stadium for PSMS Medan.

Twin Towns - Sister cities[edit]

Medan has sister relationships with these cities: [17]


  1. ^ World and Its Peoples: Indonesia and East Timor, Marshall Cavendish Corporation, New York, 2008
  2. ^ Jakarta Post article 25 May 2010
  3. ^ Usman Pelly, Sejarah Kota Madya Medan, 1950-1979; Departemen Pendidikan dan Kebudayaan R.I., Proyek Inventarisasi dan Dokumentasi Sejarah Nasional, Direktorat Sejarah dan Nilai Tradisional, 1985
  4. ^ KPK Arrests Mandailing Natal Mayor for Alleged Bribery
  5. ^ Info Data Kota Medan
  6. ^ Kondisi Geografis Medan
  7. ^ Ensiklopedi Umum, Penerbitan Jajasan Kanisius, 1973
  8. ^ a b Leo Suryadinata, Evi Nurvidya Arifin, Aris Ananta, Indonesia's Population: ethnicity and religion in a changing political landscape, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2003
  9. ^ Usman Pelly, Urbanisasi dan Adaptasi: Peranan Misi Budaya Minangkabau dan Mandailing, LP3ES, 1994
  10. ^ Usman Pelly, 1983
  11. ^ Climate Summary for Medan, Indonesia
  12. ^ World Weather Information Service
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ "All systems go for Medan". TTGmice. Retrieved 11 December 2012. 
  17. ^ a b c d e MEDAN MENJALIN HUBUNGAN KOTA KEMBAR KEEMPAT Retrieved September 10, 2013 Archived 23 April 2007
  18. ^ Gwangju Sister Cities

External links[edit]