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South Sumatra, Indonesia

The Indonesian island of Sumatra has a distinctive wedge shape as the ridge of volcanic mountains on the west coast slope downwards into the sea on the east coast.

The Musi River flows through South Sumatra, fertilising the soil with nutrients carried from the mountains, which supports a thriving agricultural industry.

Evidence in the swamps of South Sumatra suggest the region was once the capital of Srivijaya, considered the greatest maritime empire in Southeast Asian history.

The Srivijayan Empire ruled the waters of Southeast Asia from the 7th to the 13th century from its base in Palembang on the Musi River in South Sumatra.

South Sumatra produces songket fabric which originated in the 15th or 16th century combining Indian, Chinese and Malay styles and materials.

Songket is rich, vibrant fabric intricately hand-woven with metallic thread that forms beautiful decorative patterns and floral motifs on the cloth.

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Flying at 13,000m - The wedge-shaped island

 

Flying at 2,000m - Centre of a maritime empire

 
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© 2017 Royal Geographical Society (with IBG)