Banda Aceh, formerly known as Kutaradja, is the capital and largest city in the province of Aceh, Indonesia. It is located on the island of Sumatra and has an elevation of 35 meters. The city covers an area of 64 square kilometres and had a population of 219,070 people, according to the 2000 census. Banda Aceh is located on the northwestern tip of Indonesia at the mouth of the Aceh River.
The city was originally established as Bandar Aceh Darussalam Kandang and served as a capital and hub for the Sultanate of Aceh upon its foundation in the late 15th century. Later its name was changed to Bandar Aceh Darussalam, and then became popularly known as Banda Aceh. The first part of the name comes from the Persian Bandar (بندر) meaning “port” or “haven.” The city is also dubbed the “port to Mecca,” or the “porch of Mecca” (Indonesian: Serambi Mekkah) in reference to the days when hajj pilgrims travelled by sea from Indonesia and would make a stop over in the city before continuing their journey to Mecca.
Banda Aceh is a historical-rich city. This city had long story due to the protracted conflicts between the Acehnese and foreign domination, including war with portuguese, wars with the Dutch and the Japanese. The city rose to international prominence in the aftermath of the Indian Ocean earthquake in 2004, which struck off the western coast of Sumatra. Banda Aceh was the closest major city to the earthquake’s epicentre, which lay 249 km off the coast. It suffered great damage in the earthquake and further damage when a tsunami struck shortly afterwards.
Despite severely affected by the 2004 tsunami, Banda Aceh has been amazingly recovered. It is widely known as one of the most cultural- and historical-rich city in Indonesia, offering you an enjoyable stay with its stunning culture, tourism spots, and unforgettable culinary options.