Cultural Heritage Preservation

Cultural heritage 


Row of Houses with Verandas, Ngadha


Cultural heritage includes tangible culture (such as buildings, monuments, landscapes, books, works of art, and artifacts),

intangible culture (such as folklore, traditions, language, and knowledge),

and natural heritage (including culturally-significant landscapes, and biodiversity).


Cultural heritage is unique and irreplaceable, which places the responsibility of preservation on the current generation. 



Flores is located in the border zone between the Malay and the Melanesian race. The west of the island is predominantly populated by the Malay type, while to the east the Melanesian typedominates. Descendants of Bugis, Makassar and Bimanezen populate the coastal areas. During the course of centuries they have mixed with the indigenous population. The island isrelatively densely populated.

In 1916 the population estimated at half a million. Now about 1.5 million people live on Flores. The majority of the population is Roman Catholic. Minority Religions are Islam and Protestantism.



On Flores, many languages ​​are spoken, most belonging to the Austronesian language family. 

In the middle of the island, in the districts Ngada and Ende, languages ​​are spoken which belong to the so-called Central Flores Dialect Chain or the Central Flores Connection. Within this region one finds small linguistic differences, almost different from village to village.

At least six separate languages ​​are distinct. These are from west to east: Ngadha, Nage, Ke'o, Endenees, Lionees and Paluees. The latter is spoken on the island of Palu on the north coast of Flores. Locals would probably also addSo'a and Bajawa to this list, but anthropologists share these languages ​​as dialects of Ngadha. In the east of the island a portion of the population speaks Lamoholot. The other part, especially in Larantuka speak Malay, but in the so-called "lazy malay" variant. All together, on the island of Flores itself nineteen languages ​​spoken (not including Indonesian), all belonging to the Malayo-Polynesian languages, the Austronesian main branch. Regarding size of the language area Manggarai, Lionees and Sikka are prevailing.

Source: Wikipedia 



Homo floresiensis

In September 2004, at Liang Bua Cave in western Flores, paleoanthropologists discovered small skeletons that they described as a previously unknown hominid species, Homo floresiensis. These are informally named hobbits and appear to have stood about 1 m (3.3 ft) tall. The most complete individual (LB1) is dated as 18,000 years old.

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Portugese traders and missionaries came to Flores in the 16th century, mainly to Larantuka and Sikka. Their influence is still discernible in Sikka's language, culture and religion. The Dominican order was extremely important in this island, as well as in the neighbouring islands of Timor and Solor. When in 1613 the Dutch attacked the Fortres of Solor, the population of this fort, led by the Dominicans, moved to the harbor town of Larantuka, on the eastern coast of Flores. This population was mixed, of Portuguese and local islanders descent and Larantuqueiros, Topasses (people that wear heats) or, as Dutch knew them, the 'Black Portuguese' (Swarte Portugueezen). The Larantuqueiros or Topasses became the dominant sandalwood trading people of the region for the next 200 years. This group used Portuguese as the language for worship, Malay as the language of trade and a mixed dialect as mother tongue.

In 1846, Dutch and Portuguese initiated negotiations towards delimiting the territories but these negotiations led to nowhere. In 1851 the new governor of Timor, Solor and Flores, Lima Lopes, faced with an impoverished administration, agreed to sell eastern Flores and the nearby islands to Dutch in return for a payment of 200000 florin. Lima Lopes did so without the consent of Lisbon and was dismissed in disgrace, but his agreement was not rescinded and in 1854 Portugal ceded all its historical claims on Flores. After this, Flores became part of the territory of Dutch East Indies.

During World War II a Japanese invasion force landed at Reo on 14 May 1942 and occupied Flores. After the war Flores became part of independent Indonesia. 

Source: Wikipedia




Architectural Heritage    


 Village Square with Ngadhu and Bhaga, Ngadha

 Roundhouse, Manggarai


The island of Flores is home to many unique building traditions. Examples of these traditions can be found in many different areas all over Flores. In most building cultures of Flores the dwelling houses are the most prominent buildings in a village. Even though the houses follow different construction principles according to the respective building tradition, the houses on Flores still have some common features. Houses are traditionally constructed from wood and bamboo. To raise the floor off the ground, houses are erected on posts. The roof usually is the most prominent part of the building and is traditionally thatched with grass or shingles from bamboo. The thick grass thatch is especially suitable for the climatic conditions on Flores, since it provides good insulation against heat and cold and muffles the sound of the heavy rain to provide a comfortable interior space. These advantages are lost when houses are thatched with corrugated iron, which is becoming more and more popular as a modern status symbol and an easier material to apply.


The houses on Flores serve many different functions. They provide space for living, sleeping, working and storage, but they are also religious buildings that serve as a connection to the ancestors of the house's inhabitants. Each house possesses a status that is closely connected to the inhabitants of the house and defines the social role of the house owners. The interior space of the house is divided into private areas, such as the sleeping or the sacral areas, and public areas that are used for the reception of guests. In some areas of Flores the houses are divided into different rooms that serve the different functions, while in other building traditions the interior divisions of the house are not made through walls but just through the way the inhabitants use the house. Since in most building traditions the eaves of the roof are very low, only little natural light reaches the inside of the house. Apart from a little daylight, the fire of the hearth still is the only source of light in many houses. To gain a well-lit space many houses possess a veranda, which is always orientated towards the central village square and serves as a place to receive guests, to work and to spend time during the day while overlooking the activities in the village.


The gigantic roof is the most sacred part of a house and is considered to be the area where the ancestors dwell. Keeping the connection to the ancestors is vital to most people on Flores, since the ancestors are believed to provide guidance in all everyday and special matters. The houses serve as places to communicate with the ancestors during ceremonies. In some areas of Flores additional religious buildings exist. These may be ceremonial houses, houses to store bones of deceased ancestors, sacred musical instruments and other sacred objects, offering poles, stone altars and platforms or symbols for the ancestors, such as the ngadhu and bhaga in the Ngadha culture. In many cultures the graves of important members of the village are located in the centre of the village as symbols of the close relationship between the villagers and their ancestors.


While many local people on Flores still follow their building traditions, a lot of traditional aspects have also been transferred to modern houses and have strongly influenced the modern building identity, creating a meaningful modern Florenese architecture beyond bland corrugated-iron-clad houses. In many of the ancient building traditions big multi-family houses were constructed, which become increasingly unpopular for living, since most people prefer to live in smaller families in houses with more privacy. Changes in the social structure of many villages make it harder to maintain the big multi-family houses, which require special building material and expensive ceremonies. In some areas of Flores modern houses are constructed for dwelling beside the traditional houses, which are still kept for ceremonies and as dwelling places for the ancestors and are thus turned into primarily religious buildings. In other areas the traditional structures are used as chief's houses or for meetings and big ceremonies. Modern houses are often constructed from bricks or concrete and feature a roof of corrugated iron. These new materials do not provide the same good interior climatic conditions as the traditional materials, but they are considered as more prestigious, since they can only be obtained through payment. In areas where the population was allowed sufficient time, a slow adaptation of their building tradition could take place. In these areas intermediate stages between traditional and modern buildings can be found, or certain aspects, such as religious symbols or the use of space were transferred into the modern buildings. 


Irene Doubrawa, MSc

Institute for History of Art, Building Archaeology and Restoration, Vienna University of Technology


 Grass and Bamboo roof, Nagekeo

 Anteroom to Interior of Chiefs house, Lio

 Ceremonial Houses and Grave, Lio

 Old Threshold in Concrete House, Ngadha

 Modern Interpretation of Manggaraian Round House, Manggarai


Photo's courtecy of Irene Doubrawa













‘Creating a Flores Friendly Label’
Symposium & Workshop
Labuan Bajo
April 26th 2018



Report Capacity Building week 2017 in 
Labuan Bajo

16 & 17 October 2017

Training of Facilitators
18 & 19 October 2017

Community Event
20 October 2017


Report Eco Flores Conference IV 
October 2015 Ruteng, Manggarai


Brosur Eco Flores Bahasa Indonesia 

Connected at
Platform Indonesia untuk Pencegahan 
dan Pengelolaan Limbah 
Indonesian Platform for Prevention and 
Management of Waste
Cross-sector stakeholder connection

Eco Flores is represented 
by Marta Muslin Tulis


Flores Homestay Network mentioned in

Video impression Eco Flores Conference IV


Eco Flores Ambassador USA:
Kornelya Wells-Agus


Eco Flores online brochure


Eco Flores Conference IV
15-17 October 2015
Ruteng, Manggarai

Tentative program 
Eco Flores Conference IV
15-17 October 2015
Ruteng, Manggarai

September 2015 -
Komodo Eagle logo for 
collaborations Flores and


March 2015 - 
established multi-stakeholder 
collaboration for capacity 
building and connecting 
Lembata to the network 
Eco Floresta


Connecting for education


"When you visit Indonesia please 
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Responsible Tourism
Flores is listed on the 

Eco Flores contributes with 
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Eco Flores Newsletter 2014
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‘What is the right type of tourism 

development for 

Flores’s sustainable future?’ 

Report Eco Flores Conference III
16 to 18 October 2014
Maumere, Sikka

Print version available on request


Progress for sustainability 

Eco Flores initiated 
a multi-stakeholder meeting to take place 
on 9 December 2014 
at Ministry of Tourism Indonesia with the goal : 
To establish a shared vision about What is the 
right type of tourism development for 
Flores’s sustainable future? and 
To initiate stakeholder collaboration for 
Collective Impact. 
Participating organisations: 
Ayo Indonesia - Burung Indonesia - DMO - 
Eco Flores Foundation - Indecon - ReefCheck - 
SwissContact - Yayasan Komodo Kita 
Wetlands Indonesia - WWF


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From 26 to 29 September 2012 

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