Tuban today is a small, sleepy town on East Java's north coast, about 90 kilometres west of Surabaya. Four hundred years ago, however, it was one of the island's principal seaports, active in the spice trade and supporting a large population of foreign merchants. Tuban's attractions, and there are many, are connected mainly with its historical past, especially the period marking the decline of the Hindu kingdom of Majapahit and the beginning of the Islamic era in the 15th century. The tomb of Sunan Bonang, one of the Java's important Muslim missionaries, can be found behind Tuban's impressive Jami'q Mosque and is a popular place of pilgrimage to this day. Other places of interest include the klenteng Kwan Sing Bio, East Java's largest Chinese temple, and the village of Kerek, which is a traditional centre for hand drawn batik textiles. Not so long ago the Tuban region contained extensive areas of forest. In the past half century, however, much of the land has been cleared, yet it is possible to see teak plantations of considerable size to the south, notably in the hilly region near Rengel.


The Jami'q Mosque

fishing boat in the harbour

Tuban; the traditional Sandur trance dance



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