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Madura, Indonesia
The Suramadu Bridge (Surabaya–Madura Bridge), Indonesia (Image by farisshidqi from Pixabay)

Madura, Indonesia

Separated from Surabaya in northwest Java by a 3 km channel Of water, the island of Madura is a world of its own. Little visited either by tourists from overseas or Java itself, except from late August to October, the islanders are proud of their heritage and their reputation as a Warrior people.

Madura is some 160 km long and 35 km wide. The south is well-cultivated and lined with shallow beaches, the Interior mainly rock and sand, whilst such hills as there are to the north culminate in Steep cliffs, with breakers relentlessly pounding on the shore below.

Most Madurese are farmers, fishermen, salt producers or cattle breeders. Cattle are extremely important, not only to the economy but also because of the famous bull races that take place each year. This exciting and colourful sport involves pairs of the finest bulls harnessed to a small sled upon which stands the ‘jockey’. The bulls, lovingly nurtured for these events, are decked out in finery and, to the accompaniment of gamelan orchestras and cheering spectators, race down a course of some 120 m.

A decent road links the three main towns on the island. Bangkalan, in the west, is the main base from which to go bull racing, Pamekasan is the sleepy capital in central Madura, with Sumenep, in the east, the most attractive of the three. Sumenep’s sights are all closely situated around a large, central square, where there is a splendid 18th century mosque, and a Kraton, a Javanese royal palace. Here you Can visit some of the rooms, which contain a curious collection of weapons, ceramics and other assorted items. Beside it is a small, enclosed water garden -taman sari - with a clear pool full of fish.

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