Political turmoil and a tsunami once removed Aceh from a list of ten favourite destinations; however this beautiful province, which lies at the northwestern tip of Indonesia, has now made a full recovery. Yudasmoro recommends eight reasons to visit Aceh.

1. Baiturrahman Grand Mosque

Seeing as this province is nicknamed the Verandah of Mecca, it is only fitting that Aceh has declared the Baiturrahman Mosque to be its preeminent icon. Built in 1612 by Sultan Iskandar Muda, the then leader of the Aceh Sultanate, this impressive house of worship has stood witness to many of Aceh’s historic events. The mosque was around during the colonial era, the quest for national independence and the 2004 Asian tsunami. In its original incarnation, this time-honoured mosque was made of wood, however the Dutch burned it down in 1873 during a period of war before finally rebuilding it two years later. Due to the steady growth of its congregation, the mosque has now been expanded in size. Whereas it used to have one dome, it now boasts five. Baiturrahman is located in the provincial capital of Banda Aceh and often hosts Islamic holiday celebrations.

2. Lampu’uk Beach
Aceh has some simply amazing beaches and while visiting Lampu’uk Beach in the region of Aceh Besar, I felt like I was down at Bali’s famous Dreamland. Joel’s Bungalow Resort is the best place from which to start exploring this area and the resort, which stands on the edge of a precipice, gets plenty of foreign visitors looking to get away from it all. Lampu’uk is situated on a three-kilometre-long bay that boasts a fine stretch of beach and is also a favourite weekend getaway destination for the Acehnese.

3. The Zero Kilometre Monument
The town of Sabang on Weh Island has a landmark which is well worth a visit. The Zero Kilometre Monument, which is located in the Sabang Tourism Forest, stands in a location which serves as the starting point for calculating the length of Indonesia. The monument was inaugurated on September 9, 1997 and the road up here ascends through twists and turns. The Zero Kilometre Monument is round like a minaret and is around 20 metres high. Unfortunately, the monument is not very well cared for. Its surrounding area is dirty and graffiti can be seen on the walls. It is from up here though that the national song, “Dari Sabang Sampai Merauke” (“From Sabang to Merauke”) derives its meaning.

4. Tsunami Museum

The architecture of this sobering museum blends traditional and modern elements. Designed by one of Indonesia’s current architectural shining stars, Ridwan Kamil, the Tsunami Museum’s shape is a combination of a ship and an Acehnese house on stilts, and also boasts geometric reliefs that reference traditional weaving motifs on its walls.
The museum’s interior displays the names of the tsunami’s victims on a long wall. In addition to serving as a memorial to the 2004 disaster, this museum was built to serve as a vehicle for educating the public about the disasters that threaten the earthquake-zone nation of Indonesia. The museum is open every day except Friday
5. Noodles & Coffee
The local widely known dish is crab noodle soup. This delicacy has become legendary in Indonesia and can be found in restaurants in many cities and towns across the country. It is also important to remember that Aceh is not only known as the Verandah of Mecca, but also as the Land of One Thousand Coffee Shops. Coffee shops can be found almost everywhere here, from the crowded streets of Banda Aceh to more rural areas. Acehnese coffee is usually served in two different styles: black coffee (sugarless) or sanger (coffee with milk). The real attraction here though lies in the preparation process. Coffee is filtered through a cloth lifted high over the cup—a tradition that dates back to the Aceh Sultanate era.

6. The Japanese Fortress
The historical record that surrounds the fortress which is located on Weh Island, is somewhat sketchy. Neither guides nor security guards are available here however admission is free. The only fact that people seem to agree on is that it was used by the Japanese during World War II. From the top of the fortress, visitors can view a lovely panorama of the open sea and the black sand beach of Anoi Hitam. During the weekend, people flock here to enjoy snorkelling among the rocks that lie just in front of the fortress.

7. PLTD Apung
PLTD Apung is the name of a power-generator ship weighing over 2,000 tons, however this steel beast no longer sails the Indonesian high seas. The 2004 sunami carried the Apung inland and eventually dumped it in the Kampung Punge Blang Cut area of Banda Aceh, which lies a full three kilometres from the coast! Instead of moving the ship, the government of Aceh turned it into a tourist attraction. The PLTD Apung can be reached by bentor (motorised pedicab) from Baiturrahman.

8. Iboih Beach
Aceh is a special autonomous region of Indonesia which has now enacted legislation based on Islamic Sharia Law. One place that remains relatively permissive though is the island of Weh, which lies just off the coast of Banda Aceh. Down on the island’s Iboih Beach, for example, tourists wear bikinis and sunbathe on the beach. Iboih is also a legendary spot for snorkelling and diving.
Weh can be considered something of an anomaly, as it is the only area in the western part of Indonesia which offers such a diversity of impressive marine biota. As such, it makes for a great alternative for divers who cannot afford to visit more expensive eastern Indonesian paradises such as Raja Ampat and Wakatobi.

Source/Photos: http://garudamagazine.com 
A view of sunset in Alue Naga village of Banda Aceh

Aceh is one of the Indonesia's province located on the northern tip of Sumatra island. It's a very beautiful area, especially in the evening that we can enjoy the sunset.

On December 26, 2004, Aceh's coast hit by the Indian Ocean tsunami following the 9.3-magnitude earthquake. It's said the biggest disaster in modern human history.
More than 170,000 Acehnese killed in the disaster but the rebuilding of devastated areas could be completed in five years. At least 220,000 people in 13 affected countries along the Indian Ocean died in the tragedy.
Before the tsunami, Aceh was one of the dangerous area because of armed conflict between the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) guerrillas, who seek an independence for the rich of natural gas province, and Indonesian security forces. 

Both sides signed a historic peace agreement on August 15, 2005 in Helsinki, Finland, to end almost 30 year bloody war that claimed more than 25,000 people, mostly civilians. In the agreement, GAM agreed to drop its independence demand and accepted the broader special autonomy for Aceh.

Previously, there were some peace agreements reached by both parties but failed implementing in the ground as each other accused broke the truce. Some said that the latest agreement could be implemented because of some pressures to both parties from the international community in order to rebuild the devastated areas.
Now the Acehnese enjoying the peaceful situation and trying hard to rebuild the province even some small violence still happen. But in general, the situation is conducive and the people still outside till midnight, the condition that could not be found during the conflict.

Here are some pictures of the sunset taken around its capital Banda Aceh and Aceh Besar district:

A padicab driver passed a becho in fishermen's Alue Naga village in Banda Aceh

A view of sunset in Banda Aceh's Alue Naga village

A padicab driver in Banda Aceh's Alue Naga village

A view of sunset in Banda Aceh's Alue Naga village

A view of sunset in Banda Aceh's Ulee Lheue village

A view of Aceh Besar district's Lam Nga village

Some people enjoying the sunset in Banda Aceh's Ulee Lheue port

Source/ Photos: http://www.theacehglobe.com/2012/02/sunset.html
Dibangun di atas pertapakan bekas candi, masjid ini menjadi saksi sejarah sejumlah peristiwa penting masa Kerajaan Aceh Darussalam. BANGUNAN itu persegi empat sama sisi. Bentuknya khas, mirip candi. Namun, ia bukan candi. Sekelilingnya dipagari tembok coklat tua. Sebelum masuk ke dalam area bangunan, ada sebuah pintu gerbang kecil di bagian timur. Lewat pintu yang hanya satu-satunya itulah, orang-orang masuk sembari menaiki beberapa anak tangga.

Bangunan itu di Indrapuri, Aceh Besar. Ia sudah ada di sana jauh sebelum ada Kerajaan Islam Aceh. Menurut sejarah, bangunan yang berdiri di atas tanah lebih kurang setengah hektare itu didirikan sekitar abad 12 Masehi dan dulunya adalah lokasi Kerajaan Hindu.

Saat Islam menyebar di Aceh, beberapa Muslim kemudian berdakwah di sana dan mengajak penduduk setempat memeluk Islam. Kejadiannya sekitar tahun 1300 Masehi. Tatkala penduduk setempat berhasil diajak masuk Islam, bangunan yang mulanya candi sekaligus Kerajaan Hindu itu beralih fungsi menjadi rumah ibadah orang Islam.

“Masjid Indrapuri,” demikian orang-orang menyebutnya kini. Dalam sebuah literatur dikatakan, perubahan candi menjadi masjid itu terjadi masa Kerajaan Sultan Iskandar Muda. Namun, jika ditilik pada tahun pemerintahannya, Iskandar Muda berkuasa 1607-1636. Tentu saja angka ini berbeda dengan literatur awal yang menyebutkan candi itu menjadi masjid karena beberapa Muslim berdakwah di sana sekitar 1300 Masehi.
Terlepas dari berbedanya literatur mencatat angka berdirinya—tidak ditemukan angka pasti—masjid ini memang penuh sejarah. Di masjid ini, Muhammad Daud Syah dilantik sebagai Sultan Aceh yang terakhir (1874). Dari masjid ini pula, banyak ulama besar dan para pemikir Aceh muncul. “Saat prosesi pelantikan Sultan Muhammad Daud Syah, disebutkan Indrapuri sebagai ibu kota Kesultanan Aceh,” ujar Sulaiman.

Sulaiman adalah pengurus masjid Indrapuri. Lelaki 68 tahun ini adalah Humas Masjid Indrapuri. Sembari mengitari dalam masjid, sesekali ia menunjuk ke atas. Bagian langit-langit masjid terlihat masih corak lama. Beberapa kayu saling silang di bagian atas untuk penyangga atap. Atapnya berbentuk limas tiga susun. Secara keseluruhan, bangunan itu ditopang 36 tiang kayu, masing-masing 6 tiang dalam bentuk berjajar. Jarak antartiang sekitar dua saf.

“Kayu-kayu ini konon diambil di Perbukitan Gle Raya. Sebelum direnovasi, atapnya masih rumbia. Atap ini baru diganti seng saat renovasi sekitar tahun 1988,” ujar Sulaiman.

Ia menuturkan, kendati sudah mulai direnovasi, corak dasar masjid itu tidak diubah. Hal ini karena masjid tersebut termasuk salah satu cagar budaya di Aceh. Sebagai situs sejarah dan situs budaya, tambah Sulaiman, masjid ini sering dikunjungi. Pada hari-hari tertentu, pengunjung datang terkadang untuk melepaskan nazar.

Masih menurut Sulaiman, tahun-tahun sebelumnya, masjid ini masuk dalam tujuan safari Ramadan rombongan pemerintah, baik pemerintah provinsi maupun kabupaten. Dari sisi letak, masjid ini memang sedikit menguntungkan pengunjung karena tidak jauh dari pasar Indrapuri.

Sebagai peninggalan Hindu, masjid ini memiliki corak berbeda dengan umumnya masjid-masjid lain. Pondasinya saja mencapai 1,48 meter. Bentuk bangunannya persegi empat atau bujur sangkar. Luas bangunan itu 18,80 meter kuadrat. Tingginya 11,65 meter. Pintu gerbangnya di sebelah timur. Setelah gerbang kecil itu, orang harus berjalan seperti melewati pelataran. Demikian luasnya halaman masjid ini.

Pada tingkatan halaman kedua, terdapat penampungan air hujan. Gunanya sebagai tempat untuk menyucikan diri. Halaman kedua ini sekitar 10 meter, yang dibuat mengelilingi masjid. Sekilas, bentuk bangunan ini khas perpaduan masjid dan benteng, sekaligus bercorak candi. Sebagai masjid, tentu saja bangunan ini memiliki kubah. Hanya saja, kubahnya dibuat bersusun lima. Di samping kanan bangunan terdapat satu menara.

Pada bagian dalam masjid terdapat satu mimbar, yang biasa digunakan khatib ketika menyampaikan khutbah Jumat. Untuk naik ke mimbar ini, ada tiga anak tangga yang harus diinjak, masing-masing luasnya setapak kaki orang dewasa.

“Setahu saya, pengelola pertama masjid ini adalah Teungku Syiah Kuala, sekitar tahun 1600 Masehi,” tutur Sulaiman. Ia kemudian menyebutkan beberapa nama pengurus masjid Indrapuri masa lampau yang masih ia ingat. “Setelah Syiah Kuala, masjid ini dipegang oleh Teungku Chik Eumpe Trieng, yakni masa Panglima Polem. Selanjutnya, diwariskan kepada cucu Panglima Polem, Teungku Wahab.”

Terakhir, kata Sulaiman, masjid ini diurus oleh Abu Indrapuri. “Abu Indrapuri menjadi pengurus masjid ini hampir 20 tahun sejak 1946. Sekitar tahun 1960 ada Teungku Harun dan Teungku Nasrudin yang mendirikan sekolah di sekeliling masjid. Beliau pulalah yang mengurusi masjid ini,” ucap Sulaiman.

Dari tahun ke tahun, pengurus masjid itu terus berganti. Namun, bangunan saksi sejarah Aceh itu tidak lekang dimakan zaman, pun tidak bengkok ditelan waktu. Ia berdiri kokoh di sana sebagai lambang kemakmuran dan kerukunan umat Islam.[]

sumber: atjehpoast.com

The Kandang XII is a mausoleum complex measuring 25x30 m, located in the Keraton Village, Banda Aceh. This is the burial place of Sultan Iskandar Thani (reigned 1636-1641) a Sultan who reigned towards the end of Aceh's 'Golden Age'. Remains of a gold ornamented coffin were excavated here some years ago.

Within the complex are 12 mausoleums, among them the royal mausoleums of the Sultans of Aceh, that is, Sultan Ali Mughayatsyah, Sultan Alaiddin Riayatsyah Al-Qahar and Sultan Salahuddin Riayatsyah. The mausoleums are decorated with carved gravestones and outstanding calligraphy. Sultan Al-Qahar's gravestone is made from beautifully engraved copper.

Source/ Photos: http://www.lestariheritage.net

Pho dance is a dance from Aceh. Pho words derived from the word peubae, peubae means meratoh or wail. Pho is a call or a designation of respect from the people’s servant to the Almighty God is Po Teu. When the king is called Po Teumeureuhom deceased.

This dance is performed by women, usually done on the first death of great men and kings, which is based on the request to the Almighty, unload a sad or unfortunate birth weeping sorrows that accompanied lamentation. Since the development of Islam, this dance is no longer highlighted at the time of death, and has become a folk art that is often shown in traditional ceremonies.

Source : id.wikipedia.org

The Leuser Ecosystem is one of the most important conservation areas on earth. Located in the two northern-most provinces of Sumatra (Aceh and North Sumatra), its 2.6 million hectares are exceptionally rich in biological diversity. Because of this and owing to its dramatic topography, the ecosystem functions as a life-support system for more than four million people living in the surrounding area.

The ecosystem is the largest remaining undisturbed refuge of Malesian rainforest in the world. In its realm it is the richest rainforest wilderness known to science, harbouring numerous species of mammals, birds, reptiles, fish and an unknown numbers of invertebrates, plants and other organisms.

Its fauna is the richest of any known Asian area. It is home to 105 recorded species of mammals, 382 species of birds, and at least 95 species of reptiles and amphibians (54% of Sumatra’s terrestrial fauna). It is considered to be the last place in SE Asia of sufficient size and quality to maintain viable populations of many rare and charismatic species including tigers, orangutans, rhinos, elephants, and clouded leopard.

With its two mountain ranges and widely varying habitats, the ecosystem provides many ecological functions or services, the most important of which is a constant supply of water to the surrounding regions and the regulation of local climate. Other services include the mitigation of erosion and flash floods, the prevention of pest outbreaks, carbon sequestration (for global climate regulation), natural beauty and spectacular biodiversity (for tourism), hydropower potential, germplasm (for horticulture), pollination of commercially important crops, airborne dust filtration (leading to soil fertility)

Despite the local and global importance of the Leuser Ecosystem there are major challenges facing its conservation and sustainable utilisation. Many groups have a consumptive interest in the area – for timber, rattan, plantations, wildlife and harvesting. While most of the ecosystem is made up of protection forests and conservation areas, there are also plantation estates, timber concessions, community forests and a few isolated villages.

River in Leuser Ecosystem, Aceh Province

Rivers in Leuser
Wh. Kebayakan
Aceh Tengah
Wh. Pesangan
Aceh Tengah
Wh. Ilang
Bener Meriah
Arul Barang Beranun
Bener Meriah
Kr. Bidin
Bener Meriah
Wh. Kanis
Bener Meriah
A. Tenang Toa
Bener Meriah
Kr. Suak
Bener Meriah
A. Tualang
Aceh Utara
Kr. Keureutoe
Aceh Utara
S. Peutou
Aceh Utara
S. Jamboaye
Aceh Utara
S. Peureulak
Aceh Timur
S. Bayeun
Aceh Timur
Kr. Langsa
Kota Langsa
S. Simpang Kanan
Aceh Tamiang
S. Simpang Kiri
Aceh Tamiang
S. Rongoh
Aceh Tamiang
S. Kusau
Aceh Tamiang
S. Sikundur
Aceh Tamiang
Lawe Bulan
Aceh Tenggara
Lawe Alas
Aceh Tenggara
Lawe GorGor
Aceh Tenggara
Lawe Mengkudu
Aceh Tenggara
Lawe Mamas
Aceh Tenggara
Lae Beski
Aceh Singkil
Lae Singgersing
Aceh Singkil
Lae Sou Raya
Aceh Singkil
Kr. Hitam
Aceh Selatan
S. Trumon
Aceh Selatan
S. Bakongan
Aceh Selatan
Kr. Lembang
Aceh Selatan
Lawe Mungkap
Aceh Selatan
Lawe Sempali
Aceh Selatan
Krueng Kluet
Aceh Selatan
Kr. Meukek
Aceh Selatan
Kr. Labuhan Haji
Aceh Selatan
Kr. Baru
Aceh Selatan
L. Alue Tring Gadeng
Aceh Selatan
S. Manggeng
Aceh Barat Daya
S. Tangan Tangan
Aceh Barat Daya
S. Setia
Aceh Barat Daya
S. Beukah
Aceh Barat Daya
A. Batee Meungumbak
Aceh Barat Daya
Kr. Batee
Aceh Barat Daya
S. Sapi
Aceh Barat Daya
S. Lee Mirah
Aceh Barat Daya
S. Seumayam
Aceh Barat Daya
S. Tripa
Nagan Raya
S. Lamie
Nagan Raya
A. Geureugah
Nagan Raya
Kr. Pukah
Nagan Raya
Kr. Tadu
Nagan Raya
S. Seunagan
Nagan Raya
Kr. Trang
Nagan Raya
Kr. Isep
Nagan Raya
Kr. Cut1
Nagan Raya
Kr. Kila
Nagan Raya
Kr. Bajikan 1
Nagan Raya
Kr. Meurebo
Aceh Barat
A. Kla
Gayo Lues
S. Kuala Tripa
Gayo Lues
Waih Penampaan
Gayo Lues
Wh. Bobo
Gayo Lues
Wh. Sanger
Gayo Lues
Gayo Lues
Waihni Uting
Gayo Lues
Gayo Lues
Waih Penomon
Gayo Lues
Waihni Genetoa
Gayo Lues
Waih Pasir Putih
Gayo Lues
Source : BAKOSURTANAL, 1978
Leuser Ecosystem - Aceh Maps

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Source / Photos : leuserecosystem.org
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