Once called the Venice of the East, from the Dutch, Palembang is the capital of South Sumatra and one of the oldest cities in Southeast Asia. It’s also known as Kota Pempek for its local delicacy, pempek. This port city is located on both banks of the Musi River, spanned by one of the longest bridges in Indonesia – the Jembatan Ampera. Roads now replace the majority of the 120 canals that have made the town similar in Venice, but it does not make it any less magical. Palembang’s existence could be traced as far back as the 7th century.
Based on a 683 AD inscription, it was the first capital of the hugely influential Srivijayan Empire. The town has always been an economic center, particularly throughout the colonial period with the existence of petroleum refineries. As of 2015, the town has around one million inhabitants. Even though the population is predominantly Malay, Palembang is a culturally varied city with influences from others nations evident in its people, history, and architecture. Today, this cosmopolitan quality lives on with the 2018 Asian Games taking place here and in Jakarta. The Festival of Srivijaya that will take place from August 16 to 20 this season may also allow visitors to witness the great picture celebrating the foundation of Palembang.