Flores

Introduction

  • Flores is one of the Lesser Sunda Islands, an island arc with an estimated area of 14,300 km² extending east from the Java island of Indonesia.
  • The population was 1,831,000 in the 2010 census and the largest town is Maumere.
  • Flores is Portuguese for “flowers”.
  • Flores is located east of Sumbawa and Komodo and west of Lembata and the Alor Archipelago.
  • On 12 December 1992, an earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale occurred, killing 2,500 people in and around Maumere, including islands off the North coast.

Flores_Topography

Topographic map of Flores, Indonesia

Flora and fauna

  • The west coast of Flores is one of the few places, aside from the island of Komodo itself, where the Komodo dragon can be found in the wild, and is part of Komodo National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Komodo_dragon_with_tongue

The Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis), is a large species of lizard found in the Indonesian islands of Komodo, Rinca, Flores, Gili Motang, and Padar.

  • Kelimutu National Park is the second national park designated on Flores to protect endangered species.

kalimutu09_thumb

Kelimutu National Park is located on the island of Flores, Indonesia. It consists of a region with hills and mountains, with Mount Kelibara (1,731 m) as its highest peak. Mount Kelimutu, which has the three coloured lakes, is also located in this national park.

  • The Flores giant rat is also endemic to the island, and Verhoeven’s giant tree rat was formerly present.
  • These giant rodents are considered examples of island gigantism.

flores giant rat b6c4051a0c5cb059fd797561ef8546db

The Flores giant rat (Tikus Betu) (Papagomys armandvillei) is a rodent of the family Muridae that occurs on the island of Flores in Indonesia.

  • Flores was also the habitat of several extinct dwarf forms of the proboscidean Stegodon, the most recent (Stegodon florensis insularis) disappearing approximately 12,000 years ago.

stegodon scientificamerican0205-56-I2

Stegodon (meaning “roofed tooth”, is a genus of the extinct subfamily Stegodontinae of the order Proboscidea

  • It is speculated by scientists that limited resources and an absence of advanced predators made the few megafaunal species that reached the island subject to insular dwarfism

Tourism

  • The most famous tourist attraction in Flores is Kelimutu, a volcano containing three colored lakes, located in the district of Ende close to the town of Moni.
  • These crater lakes are in the caldera of a volcano, and fed by a volcanic gas source, resulting in highly acidic water.
  • The colored lakes change colors on an irregular basis, depending on the oxidation state of the lake from bright red through green and blue.
  • There are snorkelling and diving locations along the north coast of Flores, most notably Maumere and Riung.

maumere snorkling

Maumere is the seat capital of the Sikka Regency and the largest town in Flores, Indonesia.

flores riung riung1

Riung snorkling in Flores, Indonesia.

  • However, due to the destructive practice of local fishermen using bombs to fish, and locals selling shells to tourists, combined with the after effects of a devastating tsunami in 1992, the reefs have slowly been destroyed.
  • Labuan Bajo (on the western tip of Flores) is a town often used by tourists as a base to visit Komodo and Rinca.
  • Labuanbajo also attracts scuba divers, as whale sharks inhabit the waters around Labuanbajo.

flores - whale shark full_10060_515530778508240_1748886422_n

The whale shark (Rhincodon typus) is a slow-moving filter feeding shark and the largest known extant fish species.

  • The Luba and Bena villages include traditional houses in Flores, Bena is also noted for its Stone Age megaliths.

flores - BenaVillage

Bena Village, Flores

  • Larantuka, on the isle’s eastern end, is known for its Holy Week festivals.

flores - holy week xLarantuka,P20,283,29.jpg.pagespeed.ic.LhCCOpLq83

Holy Week in Christianity is the week just before Easter.

Culture

  • There are many languages spoken on the island of Flores, all of them belonging to the Austronesian family.
  • In the centre of the island in the districts of Ngada, Nagekeo, and Ende there is what is variously called the Central Flores Dialect Chain or the Central Flores Linkage.
  • Within this area there are slight linguistic differences in almost every village.
  • At least six separate languages are identifiable.
  • These are from west to east: Ngadha, Nage, Keo, Ende, Lio and Palu’e, which is spoken on the island with the same name of the north coast of Flores.
  • The peoples of Flores are almost entirely Roman Catholic Christians, whereas most other Indonesians are Muslim.
  • The prominence of Catholicism on the island results from its colonization by Portugal.
  • Mbaru Niang is the name of Flores traditional house.

mbaru niang

Mbaru Niang is the name of Flores traditional house.

flores - ngada - 800px-Ngada_megalith
An ancient Ngada megalith from Flores

flores - 1024px-BilanSina1

Dancers in Watublapi

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