Banjarmasin

Banjarmasin (aka Bandjermasin or Bandjarmasin) is the capital of South Kalimantan, Indonesia. It is located on a delta island near the junction of the Barito and Martapura rivers. As a result, Banjarmasin is sometimes called the “River City”. Its population is about 627,245 (As of 2008).

Banjarmasin is served by the Syamsudin Noor Airport, located about 25 km outside the town. The town is also served by a port, named Trisakti Harbour. A fairly important deepwater port, Pelabuhan Trisakti Banjarmasin is the trade center of the Barito basin; exports include rubber, pepper, timber, petroleum, coal, gold, and diamonds. Passenger ships and ferries to and from Java also carry their operation here.

Main economic sectors in order of their contribution to Banjarmasin’s GDP (2005): transportation and communication (26.1%), processing industries (24.9%) and trade and commerce (16.5%). Main processing industries are: plywood, rattan and rubber manufacturing.

The city is laced with flood-prone waterways, and many houses are built on rafts or stilts over the water. Many of such waterways are also used for travel, using relatively small rowboats (only major rivers are accessible by larger speedboats, tugboats, longboats, and barges).

The large majority of the population is Muslim (96%). Other religions include Protestants, Catholics, Hindus and Buddhists. The city is the home of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Banjarmasin.

History

Sultan Suriansyah Mosque is the oldest mosque in Banjarmasin and the whole South Kalimantan

Nan Serunai was an ancient kingdom in South Kalimantan, but soon it was replaced by Buddhist kingdom of Tanjungpuri. In the fourteenth century, Banjarmasin was part of the Hindu kingdom of Negara Dipa and Negara Daha respectfully, a vassal of Majapahit. But Pangeran Samudera converted to become a Muslim in the fifteenth century. Following this Banjarmasin was founded at the junction of the Barito and Martapura Rivers on September 24, 1526. The Dutch opened trade there in 1606. The British controlled the city for several brief periods, and in 1787 it became a Dutch protectorate. Banjarmasin remained the region’s capital until the onset of the Banjarmasin War in 1860, when the Dutch headquarters were moved to Martapura.The Hikayat Banjar is the chronicle of Banjarmasin. This text, also called the History of Lambung Mangkurat, contains the history of the kings of Banjar and of Kota Waringin in South-east and South Borneo respectively.At the beginning of the 20th century Banjarmasin was the largest city in Borneo. In 1930 its population was 66,000 and grew rapidly reaching 444,000 in 1990.

Local places of interest

The Sabilal Muhtadin Mosque, located along the Martapura riverfront, is a major landmark in the city. Completely built in 1979, the mosque accommodates thousands of worshippers on Friday prayers.A state university (Universitas Lambung Mangkurat, UNLAM) is also located in the town.Banjarmasin has long been renowned as a center for gem trading, particularly rare diamonds and ruby’s. An informal network with international connections exists, which also supports the large domestic Indonesian trade in rare diamonds. Banjar’s diamonds are especially known for their exquisite brilliance. In recent times, however, many of Indonesia’s large diamond stones have been traded out of the country.A floating marketplace, where buyers and sellers meet each other using boats, is located on the western outskirts of town. It is a traditional market and is considered one of city’s identity mark for years.

Culinary

A famous local dish is “soto banjar”, a soup served with lime. Another notable local dish is “Ketupat Kandangan”, a ketupat dish with coconut milk soup (can be served with either chicken or snakehead meat).

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