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Photographer's Note

Timor-Leste, or East Timor, may not be the most well-known country. It comprises the eastern portion of the otherwise Indonesian island of Timor. They also have a small piece of land, an enclave, in the western portion. It's located only 600 km off the Australian coast.

Timor Loro Sae, as it's called in the local language Tetum, is a former Portuguese colony and most elderly people still speak Portuguese. A few years ago they reintroduced Portuguese as a second language in the schools, so a lot of the youth also speaks the language. In 1975 Timor-Leste broke free from Portugal only to be invaded by Indonesia the following year.

For more than two decades they remained under Indonesian control. They first proclaimed independence in 1999 after a violent conflict with their neighbors. A lot people fled over to West Timor and still lives there. It wasn't until 2002 that their independence became widely recognized by the international community.

To my surprise, the relationship with Indonesia is today very good. Although the countries are quite similar, it was never meant to be. Yet nearly all East Timorians today understands Indonesian language. The Portuguese heritage plays an important role for East Timorians and in Dili there are many colonial buildings. The locals also borrow their most common words from Portuguese. It's one out of only two dominant catholic countries in Asia, together with the Philippines.

This picture shows Igreja de Santo António de Motael (Church of Saint Anthony of Motael), a church along the long Dili seafront. I have to add that I found this a very peaceful place. The beach itself was vibrant, and the seafront area felt great. Lots of fishing boats, people coming to enjoy the breeze, seaside restaurants, parks, sculptures and people exercising. All this while having the view to the ocean and the outline of Ataúro Island in the horizon. I'd love to go back some day.

worldcitizen, jhm has marked this note useful

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Additional Photos by Fredrik Henriksen (Bergenphotos) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 271 W: 53 N: 646] (3310)
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