Medan (Indonesian: Kota Medan) is the capital of
the North Sumatra province in Indonesia. Located on
the northern coast, Medan is the third largest city
in Indonesia, and the largest Indonesian city outside
Java. The city is bordered by the Deli Serdang Regency
to the east, south and west, and the Strait of Malacca
to the north. It is close to the volcano Sinabung, which
erupted in August 2010 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 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
became the acting mayor. In the 2010 mayor election,
Rahudman Harahap is elected mayor. Medan is divided
into 21 districts (kecamatan) and 151 subdistricts (kelurahan).
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 actually a holy city in
the western of Saudi Arabia. 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 Malay community.
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
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 1658, after Sultan
Ismail, ruler of the Kingdom of Siak Sri Indrapura,
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
Currently much of Medans historic architecture from
the colonial era is rapidly being demolished to make
way for modern buildings (malls, garages, etc.).
Medan is divided into 21 subdistricts (Indonesian: kecamatan):
The city is Indonesia's fourth most populous after Jakarta,
Surabaya, and Bandung, and Indonesia's largest city
outside of Java island. Much of the population lies
outside its city limits, especially in Deli Serdang.
The city has a diverse communities, reflecting its history.
It is famous throughout Indonesia as the home of many
unique and diverse communities. 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 Jadel (Jawa Deli/Deli Javanese) or Jakon (Jawa Kontrak/Contract
Javanese), and, with other Javanese communities in Sumatra,
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,
A highly visible component of Medan's population is
the large number of Chinese, who are very active in
the business sector, and unlike the ethnic Chinese in
many other parts of Indonesia, they continue to speak
Hokkien. The city also host a sizable community of Tamil
descendants who are commonly known as keling. A well-known
Tamil neighbourhood is Kampung Keling. In addition to
Indonesian, Malay, Mandailing, Minangkabau, Karo, Javanese,
Hokkien, Tamil, Aceh, and English are spoken.
Under the Koppen climate classification, Medan features
a tropical rainforest climate with no real dry season.
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.
There are many old buildings in Medan that still retain
their Dutch architecture. These include the old City
Hall, the central Post Office, the Tirtanadi Water Tower,
which is Medan City's icon, and Titi Gantung (a bridge
over the railway).
There are several historic places such as Maimun Palace
(Istana Maimun) built in years 1887–1891, where the
Sultan of Deli still lives (the Sultan no longer holds
any official power), and the Great Mosque (Masjid Raya)
of Medan built in 1906 in the Moroccan style by the
Dutch architect Dingemans.
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 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 in the small road Jl. Sakura III
besides Jl. Simatupang). It is already the second most
important pilgrimage place in Asia.
One of the unique features of Medan are the motorized
becaks 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
cheap and is usually negotiated beforehand.
There are also more common 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 city. 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.
Polonia International Airport is located in the heart
of the city, because of its close proximity to the city
center, the government is currently imposing a ban on
constructing high rise buildings. Kuala Namu International
Airport is a new airport under construction and is due
to replace Polonia in mid-2012.
A toll highway connects Medan to Belawan and Tanjungmorawa.
A plan for the extension of this highway to Tebing Tinggi
and to Binjai has been completed, and the central government
is currently seeking investors to build the extension.
Medan is home to a significant number of universities,
colleges, and schools. The city government of Medan
lists a total of 827 elementary schools, 337 junior
high schools, 288 senior high schools, and 72 universities
and other institutions of higher learning. The only
international school in Medan is Medan International
School. The most famous university in Medan is the University
of North Sumatra (Universitas Sumatera Utara).
The TVRI Medan (state-owned) and Deli TV (private) are
the only two local TV 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, and Suara
Football is one of the favorite sports, with two local
clubs: PSMS Medan and Medan Jaya. 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.