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Encyclopedia > Nias

Nias (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, containing the Hinako archipelago. Sumatra (also spelled Sumatera) is the sixth largest island in the world (approximately 470,000 km²) and is the largest island entirely in Indonesia (two larger islands, Borneo and New Guinea, are partially in Indonesia). ... Hinako Islands is a group of small islands of the coast of Nias in the North Sumatra province of Indonesia. ...

Location South East Asia
Coordinates 1°6′N, 97°32′E
Area 4,771 km²
Flag of Indonesia Indonesia
Province North Sumatra
Regencies Nias, South Nias

It is located in a chain of islands parallel to the coast that are separated from Sumatra by the Mentawai Strait; Simeulue is located about 140 km northwest, and the Batu Islands are located about 80 km 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 subduction zone. At Nias the oceanic plate is being obliquely subducted under the Asian Plate at the rapid rate of 52 mm a year (Milsom). Image File history File links Size of this preview: 671 × 599 pixelsFull resolution (2345 × 2095 pixel, file size: 1. ... Location of Southeast Asia Southeast Asia is a subregion of Asia. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_Indonesia. ... Map of North Sumatra province within Indonesia North Sumatra (Indonesian: Sumatera Utara) is one of the provinces of Indonesia. ... The Mentawai Strait is the body of water between Sumatra and Mentawai Islands, Indonesia. ... Sumatra; Simeulue is near the left edge in the upper half Simeulue is an island in the Indian Ocean, 150 km off the west coast of Sumatra. ... The Batu Islands are an archipelago of Indonesia located in the Indian Ocean off the west coast of Sumatra, between Nias and Siberut. ... Categories: Islands of Indonesia | Southeast Asia geography stubs | Indonesia geography stubs ... The Lesser Sunda Islands; Sumba is in the center Sumba is an island in Indonesia, and is one of the Lesser Sunda Islands. ... Timor is an island at the south end of the Malay Archipelago, divided between the independent state of East Timor, and West Timor, part of the Indonesian province of East Nusa Tenggara with the surface of 11,883 sq mi (30,777 km²). The name is a variant of timur... Categories: Geology stubs | Plate tectonics ... Categories: Geology stubs | Plate tectonics ... The Eurasian plate is shown in green on this map. ...

Nias Island is located at 1°6′N, 97°32′E, and covers an area of 4,771 km² which is mostly lowland area of ± 800 m above sea level.



Nias is the largest of the islands off Sumatra that are part of North Sumatra province. This area consists of 131 islands and Nias Island is the biggest. The population in this area is about 639,675 people (including Ono Niha - the native inhabitant of the Island, Malay, Batak, and Chinese). Map of North Sumatra province within Indonesia North Sumatra (Indonesian: Sumatera Utara) is one of the provinces of Indonesia. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... For other uses, see Batak (disambiguation). ...

Until 2003 Nias was an administrative regency (kabupaten), part of the province of North Sumatra. In 2003 it was split into two regencies, Nias and Nias Selatan (Southern Nias). Teluk Dalam is the capital of Nias Selatan. Gunung Sitoli is the capital city of Nias and it is the center of administration and business affairs of the regency. A regency (kabupaten) is a political subdivision of a province in Indonesia. ... Map of North Sumatra province within Indonesia North Sumatra (Indonesian: Sumatera Utara) is one of the provinces of Indonesia. ... Teluk Dalam is a sub-district in the South Nias regency, North Sumatra province, Indonesia. ... Gunung Sitoli is the capital city of Nias regency, North Sumatra province, Indonesia. ...


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. For other uses, see Surfing (disambiguation). ... Teluk Dalam is a sub-district in the South Nias regency, North Sumatra province, Indonesia. ... Genera Family Cheloniidae (Oppel, 1811) Caretta Chelonia Eretmochelys Lepidochelys Natator Family Dermochelyidae Dermochelys Family Protostegidae (extinct) Family Toxochelyidae (extinct) Family Thalassemyidae (extinct) Sea turtles (Chelonioidea) are turtles found in all the worlds oceans except the Arctic Ocean. ...

Nias was part of the famous Hippie trail of the 1960s, particularly travelled by surfers, which lead to Bali. Some claim that the waves at the southern beach of Sorake are better than the ones in Maui. It has been the site of several international surfing competitions in the past, particularly before the 1998 Indonesian Reformation Movement. The hippie trail is a term used to describe the journeys taken by hippies in the 1960s and 70s from Europe, overland to and from eastern Asia. ... The 1960s decade refers to the years from 1960 to 1969, inclusive. ... This article is about the Indonesian island. ... For other uses, see Maui (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Surfing (disambiguation). ... The Indonesian 1998 Revolution is the term given to a series of protests and political manoeuverings that brought about the end of the rule of the three-decade long New Order government of the autocratic President Suharto of Indonesia. ...

Despite the storied history of surfing in Nias, international surfing in Nias has slowed down especially (but not specifically) due to the recent earthquakes. [1] [2] The situation is slowly changing, however. [3]


An old Nias ceremonial shield
An old Nias ceremonial shield

Isolated yet worldy, the Nias Island chain has been trading with other cultures, other islands, and even mainland Asia since prehistory. 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. Image File history File links Please see the file description page for further information. ... Image File history File links Please see the file description page for further information. ... Megalithic tomb, Mane Braz, Brittany A megalith is a large stone which has been used to construct a structure or monument either alone or with other stones. ...

Nias best known for its remarkable 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.

Gunungsitoli is home to Nias's only museum, the Museum Pusaka Nias (Nias Heritage Foundation)[3], which houses over 6000 objects related to Nias's cultural heritage. The museum had recently built a new building and had improved their storage and exhibitions when the 2004 earthquake and tsunami occurred. The museum suffered some damage to the grounds and collections, but museum staff are working to recover from this devastating event[4].

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. Protestantism encompasses the forms of Christian faith and practice that originated with the doctrines of the Reformation. ...

The people of Nias build omo sebua houses 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. The Omo sebua is a traditional house style from Nias island, Indonesia. ...

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.


To reach Nias, there is a weekly ship from Jakarta to Gunung Sitoli; there were ferries from Sibolga to Gunung Sitoli, Teluk Dalam, or Lahewa every day; before the Asian financial crisis hit Indonesia, there was a daily flight from Medan to Gunungsitoli. This became less frequent following the crisis. This page is about the capital city of Indonesia. ...

Since the 1998 Reformation, however, transport links on and to the island have become poor. Internally, the road system is in a very bad condition. Externally the air and ferry links are unreliable. There are two ferry terminals (Gunung Sitoli and Teluk Dalam) and an airport (Binaka, near G. Sitoli [5]) on the island, serviced mainly from Sibolga and Medan respectively. However, local ferry companies regularly go out of business (or their boats sink), so only one terminal may be active at any given time. Since the 2005 earthquake, transportation has improved to cope with the increase in travel needs for reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts. Susi Air, SMAC, Merpati Air and UNHAS are the airlines that fly to Gunungsitoli. The ferryboat Dongan Hills, filled with commuters, about to dock at a New York City pier, circa 1945. ... Sibolga is a port on the west coast of the province of North Sumatra, in Indonesia. ... Location of Medan in Indonesia. ...

Tsunami and earthquakes of 2004 and 2005

On December 26, 2004 the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake struck a few kilometers north of the island, creating tsunamis as high as 10 meters. 122 people were killed and hundreds more rendered homeless. The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, known by the scientific community as the Sumatra-Andaman earthquake,[1] was a great undersea earthquake that occurred at 00:58:53 UTC (07:58:53 local time) December 26, 2004 with an epicentre off the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. ... For other uses, see Tsunami (disambiguation). ...

On March 28, 2005, the island was again hit by the 2005 Sumatran earthquake, initially presumed to be an aftershock following the 2004 quake, but now regarded as the second-most powerful earthquake in the world since 1965 and twelfth-most powerful ever recorded. At least 800 people are reported dead, with the possibility of more than 2,000 casualties. Hundreds of buildings have toppled, and many thousands have been made homeless. In 2007, almost two years after the earthquake, there are still tens of thousands of internally displaced persons living in camps throughout Nias. Epicentre map from NOAA USGS image depicting earthquake zones for the Sunda Trench - Damage zones for 1833 and 1861, then 26 December 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, and 28 March 2005 Sumatran earthquake. ... The following is a list of major earthquakes. ... Year 1965 (MCMLXV) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display full calendar) of the 1965 Gregorian calendar. ...

Nias's coastline has changed markedly with the tsunami and earthquake. [6] In some areas, the coast has moved over 50 m inland. In other areas, as much as a further 100 m of land is exposed from the sea. The uplift of land has been recorded as being as much as 2.9 m.

Following the earthquake, many international aid agencies have moved in to assist in rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts. Oxfam, Save the Children Fund, World Vision, Surf Aid, and Caritas International are some of the international NGOs represented in Nias. UN agencies represented include UNORC, UNDP, UNICEF, UN-Habitat, WFP, IOM and UNIDO. The Indonesian Bureau of Rehabilitation and Reconstruction (BRR) has a branch office in Fodo Village of Gunungsitoli. Oxfam International logo Oxfam International is a confederation of 13 organizations working together with over 3000 partners in more than 100 countries to find lasting solutions to poverty and injustice. ... It has been suggested that World Vision India, World Vision Australia be merged into this article or section. ... The Caritas House in Caine Road, Mid-levels, Hong Kong Island, Hong Kong. ...

See also

Indonesia is an archipelago made of 18,108 islands, according to satellite images. ... The Omo sebua is a traditional house style from Nias island, Indonesia. ...


  1. ^ Suwastoyo, Bhimanto (28 March 2006) Mail & Guardian Online. Indonesia's quake-hit surfers' paradise hopes for a break
  2. ^ Rinaldo, Rachel (February 15, 2004) Boots n' All Travel. Strange Days in Nias
  3. ^ (2006) Bali Advertiser. Surf Season
  4. ^ Channel NewsAsia April 3, 2006 Indonesian museum battles to save quake island's heritage[1]
  5. ^ Falling Rain Genomics. Airport BINAKA
  6. ^ Sieh, Kerry (June 1, 2005), Discover, Caltech. A Geologist in the Field [2]

External links

Indonesia Portal
  • Nias Island Website
  • Nias Muslim Care Foundation

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