|• Mayor||Lakhömizaro Zebua|
|• Vice Mayor||Sowa'a Laoli|
|• Total||469.36 km2 (181.22 sq mi)|
|• Density||290/km2 (750/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+7 (Indonesia Western Time)|
|Area code||(+62) 639|
|HDI (2019)||0.693 (Medium)|
Gunungsitoli is a city,located on North Sumatra province, Indonesia. It is located on Nias island which is in the Indian Ocean, on the west side of Sumatra. It is also the only city on the island and the main hub for the island and surrounding smaller islands. Located on the north-eastern side of the Nias island, the city was historically a series of fortification made by the Dutch colonial administration in the island since 1600s against frequent raids from Nias tribes especially from the southern parts of the island. It was the only location effectively controlled by the Dutch on the island until 1914.
The city has population of 136,017 people as of 2020 which make it the seventh populous city in North Sumatra. It also has density of 290 per square kilometers, making it the most densely populated place on Nias islands. Being the only city in the island, it is the economic centers of the island and surrounding Nias archipelago as well as the only place with significant non-agriculture industries on the island. The city was previously part of a larger Nias Island Regency, but became separated on 2008
Nias island as a place was mentioned by Ptolemy on 150 together with groups of other islands off the western coast of Sumatra as "Barus islands".The island had well-established trade contacts with Arab and Chinese traders since around 7th century. On 1154, the island was mentioned by Muhammad al-Idrisi as Niyan, described as "densely populated, with one big town, and inhabited by many tribes".
Archeological evidence shows that human have inhabited the island since 12,000 years ago. Remains of tools were found on Tögi Ndrawa cave by Indonesian archeologist from Medan in August 1999. The excavation shows sign of mesolithic culture and still inhabited until at least 700 years ago.According to folk stories of Nias people, the island were settled by six ancestor tribes. However, current Nias people or Ono Niha (literally means "human" in Nias language) is relatively recent according to records compiled by German missionary on the island, Wilhelm Heinrich Sundermann. Migration of Ono Niha, current Nias people, occurred around 1350 from mainland Sumatra and together brought with them knowledge of metallurgy, agriculture, husbandry, and woven clothing. It is unknown whether previous inhabitants of the island were assimilated or outcompeted by the arrival of Ono Niha.
On 1416, Ming treasure voyages led by Zheng He occupied a portion of mainland Sumatra that directly faced Nias island and constructed a port town there named Singkuang (New Land). The occupation led to a significant presence of Chinese communities on the island.Around 1500s, the island were subject to frequent slave raids by ships from Aceh Sultanate which at the time was under Sultan Ali Mughayat Syah who sought to conquer western coast of Sumatra. On 1642, seven ships from Aceh Sultanate stranded on the eastern coast of the island. This resulted in a significant presence of Acehnese communities, known locally as Polem people.
First contact between Nias people and Europeans came on 2 July 1664 where Dutch traders and king of Luaha Laraga made a trade agreement and tariffs for Dutch ships that were using port in today's Idanoi district.On 1668, Dutch East India Company made agreements with village chiefs around today's city and Hinako islands. The company settled the region and built several warehouses. However, the Dutch traders left the region and abandoned the settlement on 1740 due to decreasing influence over the region.
On 1776, British traders tried to settled the region but soon also abandoned it due to the region not being profitable. For several decades, there were no significant European presence on the island. The British tried to settle the region again on 1821 but the settlement was taken over by the Dutch on 1825.On 1840, the Dutch tried to gain control the entire island following Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824. However, they were unable to establish military presence in the island outside of small area inside Gunungsitoli, known as Rapatgebied. Frequent raids by Nias tribes against Dutch fortification made the settlement concentrated on the area which would form the city.
The Dutch only able to start a significant military campaign against Nias tribes on 1900 and subjugated the entire island by 1914. Nias island was among the last region to be conquered in the Indonesian archipelago by Dutch East Indies.Missionary activities on the island boomed after the Dutch established control over the entire island. On 1916, a mass conversion to Christianity known as Fangesa Sebua (The Great Repentance) occurred in the island. The event started on the city, from Idanoi and later spread to the entire island.
The city was one of two location in the Nias island where Dutch authorities put German prisoners during World War II. The prisoners were part of formerly bigger German prisoner groups abroad SS Van Imhoff which sunk by Japanese bombers off the west coast of Sumatra.Upon news about Japanese attack on Sumatra, the German prisoners planned a coup against Dutch colonial authority in the city. The prisoners tried to convince native police, known as Veldpolities to revolt. At the time, the city was home to around 60 German prisoners. On 29 March 1942, the native police were convinced by the prisoners and revolted by shoting Dutch residences. Dutch officials were imprisoned by revolting native police and the city was quickly occupied. On 17 April 1942, Japanese military landed on the city and was welcomed by German prisoners who took over the city. By 24 April 1942, all German prisoners have left the island and the administration was handed over to the Japanese until the end of World War II.
During Indonesian National Revolution, the city and Nias island in general was under blockade from Dutch Navy to cut it from western coastline of Sumatra. Due to the blockade, the city printed its own banknotes as the Republican banknotes from Bukittinggi could not be transported.The banknotes were known as ORIPDA-Nias (Regional Money of Republic Indonesia-Nias).
On 1975, Nias island experienced tourist boom especially with Australian tourists. Nias island became destination for surfers. The tourist boom was also followed by general improvement of infrastructure in the city and saw many constructions such as market buildings and roads.However, due to lack of infrastructure at the time despite improvement, the boom was short-lived. The city and the island was devastated by 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami and also 2005 Nias–Simeulue earthquake. Many of the infrastructure was destroyed and between 2005 and 2010 the residents became reliant on aid from nonprofit organizations to recover.
The city was separated from Nias Regency and became an independent city based on Law Number 47 of 2008.Following decentralization and becoming independent city, Gunungsitoli seen the highest average economic growth in the North Sumatra with figure of 6% on 2018 and 6.05% on 2019. The city's infrastructure has been improved and tourist industry has been particular focus by government both local and central to develop. On 2019, the city together with other regencies in Nias island hosted Sail Nias, which is an annual yacht tournament part of Sail Indonesia event.
The city has been proposed as capital of the newly proposed Nias Islands Province, which is projected to be separated from North Sumatra.As of 2021 however, the creation of the new province together with other new region proposals has been halted due to COVID-19 pandemic which put strain on government budget.
Gunungsitoli borders North Nias Regency in the north, Nias Regency in the south and west, and the Indian Ocean in the east. The city consists of many hills with topography ranging from 0 – 800 metres above sea level. The soil in the city is mostly unstable and often causes landslides and damages the roads.Soil composition varies from alluvium, limestone, to corals and is generally prone to compaction. Limestone often makes underground water undrinkable.
The slope in the city interior varies from 8% to 25% depending on the location. Coastal areas are mostly more flat with a different slope that takes up less than 8%. The city is located right between the subduction zone of the Eurasia plate and Indo-Australia plate, making it extremely prone to earthquakes. The city was devastated by the 2005 Nias–Simeulue earthquake. The Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysical Agency noted that on average, the city experienced more than 300 earthquakes per month on a varying scale. The city is also prone to tsunamis due to its coastal location.
Located close to the equatorial line, it has a tropical rainforest climate with an average of 21 days of rain per month. The average rainfall per month in 2019 was 250.21 millilitre cubic. However, this could vary widely from 100 to 300 millilitre cubic per month. Moisture in the city is usually between 87 - 95%, and the average temperature sits on at 26 °C. Wind speed on average per month reaches 5.17 knot per hour.
Annual population growth was 0.73% in 2020, with sex ratio of 94 males per 100 females. As with other Indonesian cities, the population is young with 95,147 out of 136,017 of the population of reproductive age above 15 years and considered part of the workforce. 46.8% of the city population lived in Gunungsitoli District in 2020. Despite the high birthrate and expansive structure of its population pyramid, the population growth was slow because of migration outside of the city to bigger cities such as Padang and Medan.
The majority of the city's population is Protestant, with a minority of Muslims, Catholics, and Buddhists. The Protestant population was 116,435, followed by 21,979 Muslims, 10,363 Catholics, and 382 Buddhists.The majority of city's residents are Nias people, with significant minorities of other ethnicities such as Batak, Minangkabau, Javanese, Chinese Indonesians, and Acehnese people. The Chinese population were mainly descendants of traders traced back to precolonial era, while the Acehnese people found mostly around Mudik village on Idanoi were descendants from Acehnese ships crews. Most of Acehnese and Chinese population have been assimilated into Nias society and could fluently speak Nias language. There were also population of Bugis people especially around region close to Hinako Islands, whom whoever were killed by raids from Acehnese ships during precolonial era. Other ethnicities are known by Nias as "Orang Seberang" (Indonesian: people from across).
Most of people in the city speaks Nias language, which is also taught at schools as regional language.Indonesian language is also well-understood in the city.
The city has an area of 469.36 square kilometers or 0.63% of North Sumatra province area. It is divided into six districts (kecamatan), tabulated below with their areas and their populations at the 2000 and 2010 Censusesand the 2020 Census. The table also includes the locations of the district administrative centres, the number of administrative villages (rural desa and urban kelurahan) in each district, and its postal code.
Gunungsitoli People's Representative Council
Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat Daerah Gunungsitoli
New session started
|30 October 2019|
Nasdem Party (2)
Perindo Party (2)
As with all of Indonesian cities, the local government is a second-level administrative division run by a mayor and vice mayor together with the city parliament, and it is equivalent to a regency.Executive power lies in the mayor and vice mayor, while legislation duties are carried by the local parliament. Mayor, vice mayor, and parliament members are democratically elected by the people of the city in an election. Meanwhile, heads of districts are appointed directly by the city mayor on the recommendation of the city secretary.
On a provincial level, the city is part of the 8th electoral district of North Sumatra province together with Nias, South Nias, North Nias, and West Nias Regency which combined have six representatives in provincial parliament.On the city level, it is divided into three electoral districts and together, the city parliament has 25 representatives.
|Gunungsitoli 2nd||Gunungsitoli Idanoi, South Gunungsitoli, West Gunungsitoli||9|
|Gunungsitoli 3rd||North Gunungsitoli, Gunungsitoli Alo'oa||5|
The biggest contributor to the city's gross regional product is the trade sector with a figure of 25.49%, followed by construction with 21.82%, and fisheries & agriculture with 14.6%. Economic growth was 6.05% in 2019. The city's gross regional product on 2021 was 5,776.11 billion rupiahs, which was the second highest in the island after South Nias Regency.
Despite its being smaller than other sectors in terms of contribution to the gross regional product, agriculture employs more people in the city with a figure of around 31% of the city's workforce. In 2019, the amount of paddy field cultivated in the city was 2,313 hectares with a crop yield of 12,997 tons. Copra is among the main export of the island which is shipped out from Gunungsitoli after harvested from neighbouring regencies.Other cultivated crops exist in the city, such as corn with a crop yield of 655.54 tons, cassava with 1,456 tons, and sweet potatoes with production of 634.25 tons. Most of the city population planted cassava without harvesting it, and instead used its leaves to feed pigs. Pig population in the city as of 2020 was 2,699. Egg production also exists in the city with production of 268 tons of eggs in 2020. Fish catch in 2020 was 6,284 tons from the sea and 129 tons of freshwater fish.
The city hosts the only shipyard in the island, located on North Gunungsitoli. The shipyard was built on 2017 and start operating on 2019, mostly on repair and painting of the ship.The city government runs an ice factory mainly to support fisheries in the city. The factory has capability to produce around 300 blocks of ice per day. Other industries in the city include production of foods for livestock such as from corn. Gunungsitoli has significant tofu industry produced by soybean from other region such as Sibolga. Other processed products in the city includes dodol with durian flavour which is Nias' signature dish, meubel products, and taro-related products.
There are also fisheries-related industries such as fish processing and production of canned fish.
The city is gateway of Nias island and hub for tourist before reaching tourist destinations. According to city government, there are 110 tourist spots identified inside the city alone. Despite the decline of tourist industry following earthquakes, there are still significant international tourist visits mostly by Australians.Tourist potentials include but not limited to Nias culture as well as beaches and natural spots such as cave and waterfalls. On 2019, total 64,767 tourists visited the city which were dominated by domestic tourists. The tourist sector is supported by presence of 23 hotels in the city as of 2019.
There are several banks in the city such as North Sumatra Bank, Bank Rakyat Indonesia, Bank Negara Indonesia, Bank Mandiri, Bank Danamon, among others. There are also several insurance companies mostly state-owned such as Jiwasraya and Putra Muda.Finance sector contributed 3.29% to the city's gross regional product as of 2021.
As of 2020, there were 28 kindergartens, 105 elementary schools, 35 junior high schools, and 12 senior high schools in the city, in addition to 14 vocational high schools and six higher education institutions.On late 2021, several higher colleges and schools merged to form Nias Raya University. It is the first and so far only university in the island and its main campus is located on South Nias Regency.
There were four hospitals, nine polyclinics, six puskesmas, 20 healthcare centers, and six pharmacies.The main public hospital in the city is Dr. M. Thomsen Regional Hospital, named after a Christian missionary and a doctor that operated in the region during the colonial era. Previously, it was named Gunungsitoli Regional Hospital. The hospital is operated by the Nias Regency government because the city was previously part of that regency. It underwent an expansion in early 2021.
Convenience store chains such as Alfamart and Indomaret entered the city in mid-2020. This, however received harsh criticism and rejection from many locals. Incumbent mayor, Lakhomizaro, said that he was threatened by an unknown person when attending Christmas celebration in the city's main church because of him releasing convenience store permits.
Internet connection in the city is mostly provided by Telkomsel, that provides both cellular and fiber optic service IndiHome. The fiber optic service is available on Gunungsitoli, South Gunungsitoli, and Gunungsitoli Idanoi district. Other providers in the city are XL Axiata and Indosat. As of 2019, all the providers are in 4G.
Total road length in the city is 490.68 kilometers, most roads paved with asphalt. However, road quality varies because of frequent earthquakes and poor soil condition. According to Statistics Indonesia, in 2019, more than 30% of roads in the city were considered damaged. The city is served by Binaka Airport with regular flights to Medan and Jakarta.
The city has two ports, Angin Port and Roro Siwalubanua II Port. Both ports provided service for passenger and containers. There are regular ferry route to Sibolga, Singkil, and Padang. The city is also served by Sea Toll Program which has route to Padang and also Jakarta.
The city has angkot as with other Indonesian cities, which are regulated by city government and has terminal located on South Gunungsitoli. The terminal, named Faekhu Passenger Terminal, is intended both for angkot and passenger bus.Perum DAMRI has a bus route serving from the city to town of Telukdalam in South Nias.
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