A busy little port of rusting tin-roofed houses at the eastern end of Flores, Larantuka nestles around the base of Gunung Ili Mandiri, separated by a narrow strait from Pulau Solor and Pulau Adonara. Most folk choose not to linger here and quickly depart for the Solor Archipelago or Kupang by boat.
This corner of Indonesia, though always isolated, was one of the first to attract European interest, as it lay on sea routes used by the Portuguese seeking sandalwood from Timor. Forts and more than 20 Dominican missions were built by 1575. Portugal maintained a presence in Larantuka until the mid-19th century, and their descendents, called ‘Topasses’, are still a significant community in Larantuka today.
Easter is a particularly good time to be in town, when there are huge processions of penitents and cross-bearers.
Last updated: Mar 2, 2009
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