The beautiful homes (and boats) of Ara

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Dunia Baru has just spent some time in her hometown of Ara, the South Sulawesi village where her hull was built. It’s a village revered around the world for its fine boat-building tradition… but how did this Konjo community get such a reputation?

Legend has it that an ancient Sulawesi king saw houses of Ara and was so struck by their beauty that he asked the town’s most talented carpenters to build him the most beautiful boat that had ever been built – and they’ve been doing so ever since.

According to the history books, however, it’s likely that phinisi – the traditional two-mast Indonesian sailing ships – were modeled on the Dutch “pinas”, which were introduced to the area when the Europeans arrived to trade. South Sulawesi was at the gateway to the spice-producing Maluku islands during the golden era of spice trade, from the 15th to the 19th centuries.

Below are a few images of the houses around Ara, shot by Chris Hamilton and Mark Eveleigh.



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