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Medan, Indonesia

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Medan, Indonesia

For other uses, see Medan (disambiguation).

Kota Medan

Skyline of Medan City

Motto: Bekerja sama dan sama-sama bekerja (Collaborate and working together)

Location of Medan in Sumatera Utara province of Indonesia
Location of Medan in Sumatera Utara province of Indonesia

Coordinates: 3°35′N 98°40′E / 3.583°N 98.667°E / 3.583; 98.667Coordinates: 3°35′N 98°40′E / 3.583°N 98.667°E / 3.583; 98.667

Country Indonesia
Province North Sumatra
Founded 1 July 1590
 • Mayor Rahudman Harahap (elected by mayor election in 2010)
Dzulmi Eldin (acting)
 • City 265.10 km2 (102.36 sq mi)
 • Metro 2,739.92 km2 (1,057.89 sq mi)
Elevation 2.5-37.5 m (8-123 ft)
Population (2010)
 • City 2,097,610
 • Density 7,957/km2 (20,610/sq mi)
 • Metro 4,144,583
 • Metro density 1,500/km2 (3,900/sq mi)
Time zone WIB (UTC+7)
Area code(s) +62 61
Website Official Government Website

Medan (Template:IPA-id; Indonesian: Kota Medan) is the capital of the North Sumatra province in Indonesia. Located on the northern coast, Medan is the third largest city in Indonesia (behind Jakarta, Surabaya, and the largest Indonesian city outside Java. The city is bordered by the Deli Serdang Regency to the east, south and west, and the Strait of Malacca to the north. It is close to the volcano Sinabung, which just erupted in Sept 2013 after a 400 year dormant state.


Medan started as a village called Kampung Medan (Medan Village). Kampung Medan was founded by Guru Patimpus around the 1590s. Because Kampung Medan sits on Tanah Deli (Land of Deli), Kampung Medan is also referred as Medan-Deli. The original location of Kampung Medan is an area where the Deli River meets the Babura River.

Based on the diary of the Portuguese merchant in early 16th century, it stated that the name of Medan was actually derived from Medina which is actually a holy city in the western of Saudi Arabia. However, other sources indicated that the name of Medan actually came from Indian Hindi language word "Maidan" meaning "ground" or "land"(like in Pragati Maidan in Delhi). One of the Karo-Indonesia dictionary written by Darwin Prinst SH published in 2002 wrote that Medan could also be defined as "recover" or "be better".

The first inhabitants of Medan came from the Malays of the Malay Peninsula, the Mandailings from the South Tapanuli Regency and the Karonese who originated from the Karo Highlands. It was not until the Sultan of Aceh, Sultan Iskandar Muda, sent his warlord, Gocah Pahlawan Laksamana Khoja Bintan, to be the Sultanate of Aceh's representative in Tanah Deli, that the Sultanate of Deli started to grow. This growth stimulated growth in both the population and culture of Medan. In the second year reign of Sultan Deli (between 1669–1698), there was a cavalry battle in Medan.

Medan did not experience significant development until the 1860s, when the Dutch colonialists began clearing the land for tobacco plantations. Medan quickly became a center of government and commercial activity, dominating development of Indonesia's western region.

The Dutch governed Tanah Deli from 1658, after Sultan Ismail, ruler of the Siak Sultanate, yielded some of his once-ruled land, Deli, Langkat, and Serdang. In 1915 Medan officially became the capital of North Sumatra Province, and officially a city in 1918.

Currently much of Medans historic architecture from the colonial era is rapidly being demolished to make way for modern buildings (malls, garages, etc.).[1]


From 2005 Medan was governed by a mayor, Dr. H. Abdillah Ak, MBA (appointed for the period 2005-2010). However, Abdillah and his vice mayor were caught by Indonesian Corruption Eradication Commission officials in 2008. Syamsul Arifin, the Governor of North Sumatra Province, then appointed Affifudin Lubis to become the acting mayor. In 2009, Affifudin Lubis resigned as mayor, and the Governor then appointed Rahudman Harahap to become the mayor. Because Rahudman wanted to be a candidate in the 2010 mayor election, he resigned as mayor. Then Syamsul Arifin himself became the acting mayor. In the 2010 mayor election, Rahudman Harahap was elected mayor.

Administrative division

Medan is divided into 21 districts (Indonesian: kecamatan), tabulated below, and sub-divided into 151 villages or communities (kelurahan):

  • Medan Amplas
  • Medan Area
  • Medan Barat
  • Medan Baru
  • Medan Belawan
  • Medan Deli
  • Medan Denai
  • Medan Helvetia
  • Medan Johor
  • Medan Kota
  • Medan Labuhan
  • Medan Maimun
  • Medan Marelan
  • Medan Perjuangan
  • Medan Petisah
  • Medan Polonia
  • Medan Selayang
  • Medan Sunggal
  • Medan Tembung
  • Medan Timur
  • Medan Tuntungan


The city is Indonesia's fourth most populous after Jakarta, Surabaya, and Bandung, and Indonesia's largest city outside of Java island. Much of the population lies outside its city limits, especially in Deli Serdang Regency. The official Metropolitan area (Wilayah Metropolitan Medan) contained 4,144,583 inhabitants in 2010.

Administrative division Area (km²) Population (2010 Census) Population density (/km²)
Medan (City) 265.10 2,109,330 7,959
Binjai (City) 90.24 246,010 2,726
Deli Serdang Regency 2,384.62 1,789,243 750.3
Greater Medan 2,739.96 4,144,583 1,512.8

The city has diverse communities, reflecting its history. However, The Mandailings also live here in big numbers and working at the most strategic government position. In addition, there is a large ethnic Javanese community, largely made up of the descendants of people transported from Java in the last century to be employed as contract workers at various plantations in North Sumatra. They are usually known as Jadel (Jawa Deli/Deli Javanese) or Jakon (Jawa Kontrak/Contract Javanese), and, with other Javanese communities in Sumatra, Pujakesuma (Putra Jawa Kelahiran Sumatera/Sumatra-born Javanese). Their presence in Medan can be marked from various Javanese toponymies in Medan, such as Harjosari, Sarirejo, Sidodadi, Sidomulyo, Sidorame, Sidorejo, Sitirejo, Sudirejo, Tanjungrejo, Tanjungsari, Tegalrejo, Tegalsari, etc.

A highly visible component of Medan's population is the large number of Chinese, who are very active in the business sector, and unlike the ethnic Chinese in many other parts of Indonesia, they continue to speak Hokkien. The city also host a sizable community of Tamil descendants who are commonly known as Madrasis or Tamilian. A well-known Tamil neighbourhood is Kampung Madras in the city center, being one of the busiest part of the Medan Town. In addition to Indonesian, Malay, Mandailing, Minangkabau, Karo, Javanese, Hokkien, Tamil, Aceh, and English are spoken.

Due to rapid growth in the its economy, the increased demand for electricity is under supplied by the local Power Company. A shortage of electricity supply forced the authority to regularly shut-off power among the areas in the city for several hours a day.

Composition by Ethnic Group in Medan on 1930, 1980, 2000
Ethnic Group 1930 1980 2000
Javanese 24,89% 29,41% 33,03%
Batak 2,93% 14,11% 37,21%
Chinese 35,63% 12,8% 10,65%
Mandailing 6,12% 11,91% 9,36%
Minangkabau 7,29% 10,93% 8,6%
Malay 7,06% 8,57% 6,59%
Karo 0,19% 3,99% 4,10%
Aceh -- 2,19% 2,78%
Sundanese 1,58% 1,90% --
Others 14,31% 4,13% 3,95%
Source: 1930 and 1980:


Climate chart (explanation)
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation totals in mm

Under the Köppen climate classification, Medan features a tropical rainforest climate with no real dry season.[3] Medan does have noticeably wetter and drier months, with its driest month (February) on average seeing about one third of the precipitation of its wettest month (October). Temperatures in the city average approximately 27 degrees Celsius throughout the course of the year. Annual precipitation in the Medan is around 1800 mm.


There are many old buildings in Medan that still retain their Dutch architecture. These include the old City Hall, the central Post Office, the Tirtanadi Water Tower, which is Medan City's icon, and Titi Gantung (a bridge over the railway).

There are several historic places such as Maimun Palace (Istana Maimun) built in years 1887–1891, where the Sultan of Deli still lives (the Sultan no longer holds any official power), and the Great Mosque (Masjid Raya) of Medan built in 1906 in the Moroccan style by the Dutch architect A.J. Dingemans.[4]

Since 2005, a catholic temple, in Indo-Mogul style, devoted to Graha Maria Annai Velangkanni (Our Lady of Good Health), is built in Medan. This particular Saint knows its origin with an apparition in the 17th century in India. The temple is an important building, of two stories and a small tower of seven storeys in Indonesian style, that already attracts attention from the main road (it is situated in the small road Jl. Sakura III besides Jl. TB Simatupang). It is already the second most important pilgrimage place in Asia.

The Catholic Cathedral, Medan PARISH HISTORY A BRIEF HISTORY of Cathedral Church'

At its inception in 1879, the Cathedral Church of Medan is a leaf-roofed hut and thatched roofed place of worship dozens of Catholics (the majority ethnic-Tamil Indian and the Netherlands) at Jl Pemuda No 1 (formerly was called and known as Istana Street). Seeing the growing amount of people who in 1884 had amounted to 193 people, then since it has been thought how to improve and enlarge the thatched huts and palm leaf thatch is. It was only in 1905, when Catholics are numbered 1200 people, the present church building began. Construction of the church in 1905 was initiated and carried out by the Jesuit priest who worked in the field. The cathedral church at the time it was built with stone walls, a tin roof and some still roofed and thatched palm leaves and was inaugurated in November of that year. The Tamil Indians later built for themselves a Parish at Jalan Hayam Wuruk in Medan Baru area, called as Santo Antonius Church, annexed to it were housing of Tamil Catholic Indians known as Kampung Kristen or Kovil Kambam in Tamil, Presently Jalan Mataram where the Catholic Center is built, (is a great set-back shifting of the history of the Tamil Chatolics in Medan).

Starting January 30, 1928, the church expanded by adding the sanctuary, the confessional and the front courtyard and the tower. Expansion and construction of permanent in 1928 was designed by Dutch architect named Mr. Han Groenewegen and carried out by Mr. Langereis. The results of the design architect and pelaksanakan that we can see today, which makes the Cathedral Church in Medan Jl Youth No. 1 (known as the Cathedral Church) as one of the old historic buildings and architects of high value in the city of Medan. Complete and official designation for this is the Cathedral Church of Santa Maria Catholic Church of the Immaculate Origin - Cathedral of Medan.

There was one other old buildings on the right side of the Cathedral Church. The building is home to the residence of the priest commonly known as the rectory. Cathedral rectory was built in 1906 and also the wood-walled and thatched roofed. It was only during the period 1964 - 1965 rectory building was replaced with permanent buildings as we can see at this time. (Secretariat of the Cathedral of Medan)


The new Kuala Namu International Airport (KNO) which was opened to the public on July 25, 2013 is the latest landmark and pride to the people of Medan. This new most modern airport is a replacement of the old Polonia Airport. Unlike the old Polonia Airport which located in the heart of the city, this new airport is located approx.39 km from downtown. Taking the train to the Kuala Namu International Airport is the easiest and fastest (37 minutes) way at the moment and it cost Rp.80,000 one way. The train schedule from Medan to Kualanamu International Airport is: 03.55; 04.50; 06.15; 08.20; 11.10; 13.45; 15.15; 17.15; 19.20; and 20.00 The train schedule from Kualanamu International Airport to Medan city is: 05.05; 06.30; 08.00; 09.25; 12.25; 14.45; 16.25; 18.30; 20.45; and 24.15.The train from Kualanamu International Airport to Medan city is about 45 minute . Train ticket can be paid in cash, debit/credit card of some national banks, and Visa. Taxi transfers will cost you about Rp150,000 per car and only special taxi with sticker can enter the airport. The official taxi companies serving the airport are Puskopau, Blue Bird, Kokapura, Express, Karsa, Matra and Nice; please be aware of taxis without sticker, although have the same brands with the sticker taxis. Air-conditioned "Damri" buses departs every 15 minutes to the airport from 05:00 to 23:00. There are two bus services serving the Airport-Medan route: Airport-Medan Fair (Rp15,000) and Airport-Amplas (Rp10,000). Taxi and bus will take 60 to 90 minutes from Medan to the airport, because there are several traffic jam locations. for further information please see

One of the unique features of Medan are the motorized pedicab that are found almost everywhere. Unlike traditional becaks, a motorized becak can take its passenger anywhere in the city. The fare of riding a becak is relatively low and is usually negotiated beforehand.

There are also more common means of transport like taxis and minibuses, known as sudako.

Railroad tracks connect Medan to Binjai and Tanjungpura to the northwest, to port of Belawan to the north, to Tebing Tinggi and Pematang Siantar to the southeast, and also Rantau Prapat among other cities. The largest train station in Medan is Medan Station. There are also smaller stations in Medan, such as Medan Pasar, Pulu Brayan, Titi Papan, and Labuhan, and Belawan. Titi Papan and Pulu Brayan only serve as the stop for freight trains carrying oil palm and petroleum.

The seaport of Belawan is about 20 km to the north. Polonia International Airport is located in the heart of the city, because of its close proximity to the city center, the government is currently imposing a ban on constructing high rise buildings. Kuala Namu International Airport is a new airport under construction and is due to replace Polonia in mid-2013. The new airport will boast a capacity of 8.1 million passengers a year.[5]

A toll highway connects Medan to Belawan and Tanjungmorawa. A plan for the extension of this highway to Kuala Namu International Airport, Tebing Tinggi and to Binjai has been completed, and the central government is currently seeking investors to build the extension.


The TVRI Medan (state-owned) and Deli TV (private) are the two local television stations in Medan. Several local newspapers are running in the city with Harian Mimbar Umum as the oldest one. Other popular newspapers include Harian Waspada, Harian Analisa, Berita Sore, Harian Global, Harian Medan Bisnis, Posmetro Medan, Suara Indonesia Baru, dan "Tribun Medan".


Football is one of the favorite sports, with five local clubs: PSMS Medan, Medan Jaya, Medan Chiefs, Bintang PSMS and Medan United; and a basketball club named Angsapura Sania. Another locally popular sport is Wushu, with significant growth in recent years as one of the favorite sports in Medan. It has its training center in Plaju Street in heart of town. Medan has recently seen much success in Wushu nationally and internationally.

Sister cities

Medan has sister relationships with these cities: [6]


External links

Indonesia portal
  • Template:-inline
  • Official Government website (Indonesian)
Local and Online newspaper
  • – Medan & North Sumatera online food directory (Indonesian)
  • Harian Analisa – Medan & North Sumatera Newspaper (Indonesian)
  • Harian Global – Medan & North Sumatera Newspaper (Indonesian) ---> change name to JURNAL MEDAN
  • Harian Medan Bisnis – Medan Business Newspaper (Indonesian)
  • Harian Waspada – Medan & North Sumatera Newspaper (Indonesian)
  • Posmetro Medan – Medan, Pematang Siantar & North Sumatera Newspaper (Indonesian)
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