Trip to Historical Santa Cruz Cemetery & Market Roundabout, Dili, East Timor

sta cruz cemetery, dili
If you don’t have any idea on the historical background of Sta. Cruz Cemetery in Dili, it will appeal as ordinary cemetery not worth visiting. But the truth is, it is one of the most historical significant place in the whole country.

On November 12, 1991 at the grounds of Sta. Cruz Cemetery, an estimated 250 Timorese were killed in one of the most controversial and bloodiest event in East Timor history.
sta cruz cemetery, dili
sta cruz cemetery, dili

At the height of Indonesian military occupation, a peaceful pro-independence demonstration attended by local political and religious leader together with international journalists turned into a day of “massacre” when a group of 200 Indonesian soldiers appeared and began shooting, with some even chasing fleeing and hiding Timorese at the cemetery ground.

This gruesome event was caught on tape by a group of international journalists. The videotape was smuggle out of the country and later on became a significant catalysts for the international community to take notice, understand and be at one with East Timor struggle for independence.

Sadly, Sta. Cruz Cemetery bears no mark of tribute to the people who lost their lives on this unforgettable event.
sta cruz cemetery, dili
sta cruz cemetery, dili
sta cruz cemetery, dili

Visiting Sta. Cruz area can be done in combination with a vist to the Market (via the market roundabout).
sta cruz cemetery, dili
sta cruz cemetery, dili
sta cruz cemetery, dili
sta cruz cemetery, dili
sta cruz cemetery, dili
sta cruz cemetery, dili

A drive up to the mountain nearby offers a good panoramic view of the inner Dili city proper.
It will also give you an idea where the trucks loaded with people that you usually see on the city streets goes to. They are Timorese who lives uphill and goes to the city for work or school daily.

Out of all the street art in Dili, the Santa Claus drawing is the one I like the most. He is everywhere, on the street of Bairo Pite, somewhere in Fatuhada and on those small lanes perpendicular to Rua Nicola Lobato.
So, just imagine my delight when I saw one uphill somewhere in Nopeng.
sta cruz cemetery, dili
sta cruz cemetery, dili
sta cruz cemetery, dili

5 thoughts on “Trip to Historical Santa Cruz Cemetery & Market Roundabout, Dili, East Timor

    1. though they have their own local language called “Tetun”/ “Tetum” , it is normal to hear Portuguese phrases on daily conversations attributing to Portugal colonization from 1702 to 1975. even the name of the street or person names are common Portuguese names.

      kind of reminded me of Philippines which was colonized by Spain for 330 years. We have our own language called “Tagalaog” and yet we use Spanish phrases from time to time.

  1. Thanks for this interesting information about Santa Cruz cementry I didn`t know. As I prefer the colder regions of our globe I live in England, Greenland and Scandinavia. In these countries is not much known about your part of the world. So it was great reading these infos and seeing your pictures.
    Greetings from sunny coast of North Norfolk
    Klausbernd

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