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Official seal of Cirebon
Nickname(s): Kota Udang (City of Shrimps)
Cirebon (Indonesia)
Location of Cirebon in Indonesia
Coordinates: 6°43′S 108°34′E / -6.717, 108.567
Country Indonesia
Province West Java
- Mayor Subardi S.Pd
- Total 37.54 km² (14.5 sq mi)
Population (2003)
- Total 277.000
- Density 7.376/km² (19.1/sq mi)
Time zone WIB (UTC+7)

Cirebon (formerly referred to as Cheribon in English) is a city on the north coast of the Indonesian island of Java. It is located in the province of West Java, approximately 297 km east of Jakarta, at 6°43′S 108°34′E / -6.717, 108.567.

City Hall, Cirebon, West Java, Indonesia



[edit] Etymology

Its name is often said to be derived from the Sundanese words of "Cai" (or river) and "Rebon" (or "shrimp"). (Indeed the main production of the city is fishery including shrimps.) The alternative Javanese derivation is from "Caruban", meaning "mixture"--a reference to Cirebon's complex mix of Javanese, Malay, Sundanese, Chinese and Arabic cultural elements. While Indonesians from outside Cirebon pronounce the name CHEE-ray-bone, locals say Cher-BONE.

Aside from fishery, its harbour, Tanjung Emas, on the Java Sea has been a major hub for timber from Borneo. A small landing site "Penggung" also serves the TNI-AU. The city lies on Jalur Pantura (Pantai Utara Jawa), a major road on the northern coast of Java that stretches from Anyer, passes through Jakarta, and ends at Surabaya.

[edit] History

See also: The Sultanate of Cirebon

Cirebon was part of the Sunda kingdom as stated in the travel records of Prince Bujangga Manik, a Sundanese Hindu monk who visited all the holy Hindu sites in the islands of Java and Bali at the beginning of the 16th century AD. In his lontar manuscripts, which have been saved in the Bodleian Library of Oxford University in England since the 16th century, the borders of the Sunda kingdom in the west are the Sunda Straits and in the east are the Pamali River (present day Brebes River) and the Serayu River in Central Java Province.[1]

Another source proclaiming the fact is a report from Tomé Pires, a European explorer. He reported a Sundanese port of "Cimano". Manuk is a river passing through Cirebon area, though not direct flows through the city. In fact, Manuk River (Ci Manuk) flows through Indramayu.

A major event in Cirebon's colonial history was the massive famine of 1844, apparently triggered by a combination of drought and the shift from subsistence agriculture to cash crops, particularly indigo and sugarcane, that had begun as a result of Dutch colonial policy (see Cultivation System) in the 1830s.[citation needed]

[edit] Demographics & Culture

Passenger of Cirebon Express train at Cirebon Station

The city's population is 223,776.[citation needed] As with other coastal cities in Indonesia, a large population of ethnic Chinese has flocked into the city as a result of long-term Chinese immigration since the seventeenth century.

Cirebon itself is known as Grage in the Cirebon dialect of Javanese language, which came from the words "Negara Gede", meaning "Great Kingdom." Grage is terasi (shrimp paste) in cirebon language.

Although surrounded by Sundanese-speaking areas in West Java, linguists have stated clearly that Cirebon (and the historically related region of Serang city in Banten Province) are Javanese language areas. In addition, this is supported by the Cirebon people referring to themselves as "wong Jawa" ("Javanese people"), and to their language as "basa Jawa" ("Javanese"). However, the Cirebon dialect is sufficiently different from the dominant south central Javanese dialect that it is sometimes assumed to be non-Javanese by outsiders. See also: Java, languages map.

As a coastal city, Cirebon's main industry is fishery. Its products include terasi (shrimp paste), shrimp crackers and salted fish. Cirebon is known for local foods, such as nasi lengko (rice mixed with bean sprouts, fried tofu and fermented soybean cake), nasi jamblang (rice of various side dishes), empal gentong ( a kind of curry ), tahu gejrot (fried tofu with red sugar topping), tahu tek-tek (fried tofu topped with peanut sauce and mixed with vegetables) and ayam panggang (barbecue chicken). Another native food is "Docang" (rice cake with sour vegetable soup).

Food from Cirebon:

[edit] Administration

Cirebon is divided into five subdistricts: Harjamukti, Kejaksan, Kesambi, Lemahwungkuk, and Pekalipan.

[edit] Notable places

Wali Songo, especially Sunan Gunung Jati, is known to have influenced the city's history. Sunan Gunung Jati's grave is located several kilometres outside the city, in a district called Gunung Jati. There are two temples and a cave system built by two Chinese architects around the 1880s, decorated by Chinese and Western porcelain. The village of Trusmi, about five kilometers outside of Cirebon, is famous for batik production. Plangon is a habitat of monkeys.

[edit] Palaces

Cirebon has four palaces - known as Kratons -

[edit] Port of Cirebon

Main article: Port of Cirebon

The Port of Cirebon was established by the Dutch East India Company in 1865, principally as an export point for spices, sugar cane and raw materials from West Java. Warehouses and open storage areas were developed by 1890, and a British American Tobacco cigarette factory was built in the early twentieth century.[citation needed]

Port activity is dominated by bulk imports of coal, liquid asphalt and vegetable oils for the West Java hinterland. Until 2002, the port also catered for minor container trade and cruise shipping. In 2006 the port handled 3.27 million metric tons (MT) of trade, more than 90 percent as imports from other Indonesian ports.

[edit] References

  1. ^ Ekajati, Edi S. (2005). Kebudayaan Sunda Jaman Pajajaran. Yayasan Cipta Loka Caraka.


[edit] Further reading

  • Graaf, H. J. de (Hermanus Johannes), 1899-(?), "Chinese Muslims in Java in the 15th and 16th centuries : the Malay Annals of Semarang and Cerbon / translated and provided with comments by H.J. de Graaf and Th.G.Th. Pigeaud ; edited by M.C. Ricklefs. Publisher: [Melbourne] : Monash University, 1984. Description: xiii, 221 p. : folded map ; 21 cm. ISBN 0-86746-419-4 : Series: Monash papers on Southeast Asia ; no. 12

Coordinates: 6°43′S 108°34′E / -6.717, 108.567

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