On the Eastern part of the island lies the city of Larantuka, which also goes by many nicknames of which one of them is ‘city of 1000 churches’. Due to colonialism, most of this part of the island still has strong Portuguese influence. The area was once sold to the Dutch colonials who allowed freedom of religion. Today Portuguese is still being used in important prayers and ceremonies in Church.

The city used to serve as an important trading center for sandalwood from Timor and nowadays still is an important connecting point. Larantuka is a typical fisherman’s town with tuna boats in its harbor ready to set sail. The local people are very friendly and out-going and within the city everything is within walking distance.

The majority of the population is overwhelming Catholic, at 95.4% and famous for its Holy Week, an Easter Procession. ‘Semanta Santa’ (Holy Week) is a very important religious celebration for the people of the Larantuka. It is being celebrated the week before Easter and center on two religious statues of Jesus Christ and of the Virgin Mary. The statues can only be seen by the public around Easter time and are being kept away the rest of the year.

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Travel tips

  • Visit the protected UNESCO heritage sites
  • Go on a road trip
  • Attend a traditional ceremony
  • Visit the Holy Week in Larantuka

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