Merauke a city in West Papua that’s located at the easternmost part of Indonesia. It is located right at the border between Papua Province and Papua New Guinea. It’s quite a big city with an area of 46,792 sqm, 70 times bigger than Singapore. It makes Merauke such a unique and historical city. Here’s the profile of Merauke city.
The Origin of “Merauke”
Merauke is the home for Marind Anim, its native tribe. One day, the Dutch landed on Merauke and tried to find out the name of the area, so the Dutch attempted to ask the people of Marind Anim. They didn’t understand each other’s language back then. The people of Marind Anim then said, “Maro Ka Ehe”, meaning “this is Maro River”. The Dutch, who had no idea what it meant, mistaken it as the name of the area. Thus, it’s been called Merauke ever since.
The Easternmost Point Monument
In 1994, a monument was built to symbolize the unity of Indonesian archipelago form the westernmost to the easternmost region of the nation. The name is officially introduced as “Tugu Kembaran Sabang Merauke” (Twin Monument of Sabang Merauke). You can find the monument in Sota district.
It is called the twin monument because the monument can be found in two locations. The other twin monument is built in Sabang, the westernmost region of Indonesia. The monument was built as a memorial of the easternmost and westernmost boundaries of Indonesia territory area.
On its top, stand a Garuda bird statue as a symbol of Indonesia’s national emblem. Under the statue is written: “Satu Nusa Satu Bangsa” (One Island, One Nation), a commitment to maintaining the unity of Indonesia from Sabang to Merauke area.
Not far from the monument there is Sota Park where a memorial of the easternmost point of Indonesia is standing. The coordinates are also written on the memorial.
Time Capsule Monument
What makes this monument so popular? The shape of the monument is similar to the shape of Avengers’ headquarters. It inaugurated on November 16th 2018 by the president of Indonesia, Joko Widodo. Inside the monument, there is a time capsule that holds the dreams and aspirations of the nation. The content of the time capsule will be opened and read on August 17th, 2085.
When the Dutch landed on Papua, they found out how beautiful Cendrawasih bird’s feathers are. So, they exported the feathers and used them as head accessories by European women. Nowadays, the bird is endangered and protected.
Deer are ubiquitous in this city of West Papua. It is how Merauke gets its name as the city of the deer. The population number might have been decreased due to poaching. However, it’s a different case when it comes to the people of Marind Anim. The government made the deer hunting legal for the native tribe only if the traditional weapon is used and the deer are hunted solely for consumption.
The geographical condition of Merauke is quite similar to the Northern part of Australia. Merauke areas consist of lowland and grassland. Some animals that are found in Merauke are also found in Nothern Australia such as pelicans, couscous, kangaroos, and bush rats. The slight difference is the kangaroos in Merauke has a slightly smaller size than in Australia.
Maro Rivers in Merauke is also the natural habitat of Arowana, freshwater ornamental fish.
Wasur National Park
The area of the Wasur National Park which covers most of the Merauke area reaches 2,100 sqm. It is the home for hundreds of animals and displays the natural geographical condition of Merauke (a combination of swamp and savanna). We can also find the Musamut termite nests as tall as 5 meters high.
Besides faunas, the indigenous tribes of Merauke inhabit the area as well. In total, there are 14 villages within the national park. The villagers still maintain tradition close to the heart to preserve culture.
There are three most popular beaches in Merauke: Payum Beach, Ndalir Beach, and Lampu Satu Beach. It is easier to reach Lampu Satu Beach than reaching the other two beaches. In Lampu Satu Beach, you can find a vintage beacon that’s still used to date as a warning for the local fishers and the fishers that are coming from Bugis and Sulawesi who are approaching the land. If you’re up to chilling by the beach, then booking resorts or having dinner at one of the restaurants along the beach can be a great idea.
In Merauke, people eat sago as a substitute for rice. Sago is served as different dishes based on the additional ingredients mixed with sago. There are wanggilamo (sago that is eaten with roasted beef), kaka (sago mixed with shaved coconut, meat, and coconut milk), siu (sago mixed with banana), and many more.
Another popular dish that you can find particularly in Merauke is deer meat. In this region, deer meat is turned into meatballs, satay, stews, and jerky. Don’t worry; it’s legal!
As most of the Merauke area consists of low plains and swamps, the region has a large number of crocodiles. The number is higher than in any region in Indonesia. The locals turn the fierce predator into handicrafts as souvenirs, and other fashion items such as wallets, belts, shoes, and bags. It helps the economy of the locals as they can sell it at a high price. In this easternmost city in West Papua, crocodile hunting is considered legal under the supervision of the local government.
What are you waiting for? There are a lot of interesting things in Merauke. Let’s go to the easternmost city in West Papua!