spelled Díli, Dilli or Dilly, is the capital of East
Timor. It lies on the northern coast of Timor island, the
easternmost of the Lesser Sunda Islands. Dili is the chief
port and commercial centre for East Timor and also has an
airport for use by commercial and military flights.
a pleasant, laid back little capital, Dili has sprung
to life over the last three years. Although most of
the city was destroyed during the militia attacks
of 1999, many of the homes and businesses have been
rebuilt.Dili still sports a few Portuguese accents
like the villa-lined beach roads, the former colonial
garrison built in 1627 and the church built on the
waterfront. But new shops, restaurants and bars are
opening all the time, bringing a new energy and style
to this once sleepy city.
The waterfront remains a center
of activity from dawn till late at night. A park separates
the beach from the road, with banyan trees and benches
offering an excellent place to cool down in the shade
with a coconut to drink! Fishermen unload all kinds
of fish, squid and lobsters on the beach,
making this one of the best places to find the freshest
seafood in Dili.
In the afternoon, join the boys in
their daily games of football - an excellent way to meet
the local people. Peddlers sell cold drinks, snacks and
satay all day and into the evening. The nearby island of
Atauro can be reached by charted boat or the new ferry service.
Strongly Roman Catholic, Dili features
many churches. A massive statue of Christ on the nearby
headland at Cape Fatucama is reminiscent of Rio de Janeiro.
From the various stops on the way up to Jesus there are
magnificent views of Dili and also the coast stretching
to the west. There are good beaches a few kilometers outside
of Dili in both directions with snorkeling and diving possible
within 15 minutes drive from the main government buildings.
The most popular beach area is the sheltered cove of Areia
Branca, also known as Pasir Putih (or white sands in English)
just before you get to Jesus.The Santa Cruz Cemetery near
Taibesi is also worth visiting. It was here in 1991 that
the world was first alerted on a wide scale to the suffering
and injustice that the Timorese were experiencing under
Indonesian rule.The Xanana Reading Room and Library is an
essential stop for visitors to Dili in search of information
and advice about East Timor, their video and film library