The capital city of East Timor is Dili. This urban center also serves as the nation’s business hub, most populous city, and main port. Dili is located on the northern coast of the island of Timor. It comprises an area of 18.64 square miles and sits at an elevation of thirty six feet. Dili has a long history and was initially established by the Portuguese around 1520. It was these early European settlers who made it the capital of the region in 1769 although it wasn’t officially deemed to be a city until years later in 1864. In terms of recent history Dili became the nation’s capital city after East Timor gained its independence in 2002.

According to statistics from 2015 Dili’s population stands at 222,323. With its metropolitan area factored in this number rises to 234,331. This number includes the entire district as well as the rural areas of Atauro and Metinaro. Dili’s population density is 12,000 people per square mile. Due to various social and economic factors Dili is currently experiencing a gender imbalance in regard to its population with the city being home to a larger percentage of men than women.

Among the most popular sights in Dili is the city’s picturesque waterfront which includes several sandy beach areas as well as a walking path. Another spot popular with tourists and locals alike is Cristo Rei which can be found about four miles east of the urban center. This attraction includes a 570 step hilly trek up to a status of Jesus which was given to Dili courtesy of the country of Indonesia. On a more somber note, a good place to learn about the history and struggles of the people of East Timor is the Resistance Museum. Built in 2005, this museum commemorates the region’s struggle against Indonesian occupation and its efforts to gain independence. The museum features photographs, archival material as well as exhibits displaying various types of weaponry and communication devices.

Dili’s climate is classified as being tropical savanna in nature. Dili’s dry season runs from July to October with the lowest rainfall amounts occurring in September (0.35 inches) and the highest taking place in January (5.49 inches).

This page was last modified on May 1st, 2018

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