East Java, Indonesia
Motto: "Terwujudnya masyarakat Kabupaten Tuban yang mandiri dan
sejahtera lahir batin " (striving to make Tubanese society wholly
independent and prosperous)
Coordinates: 111.300° - 112.350° BT dan 6.400° - 7.180° LS
Regent Dra. Hj. HAENY RELAWATI RINI WIDYASTUTI, M.Si
Area 1,904.70 km 2
Population () 1.124.508
- Density 611/km 2
Time zone UTC+7 (UTC)
Tuban is a town located on the north coast of Java, approximately 100
km west of Surabaya, the capital of East Java. Tuban is surrounded by
Lamongan in the east, Bojonegoro in the south and Rembang, Central
Java in the west.
As an ancient town, Tuban is of considerable historical and cultural
value. The most prominent feature is the beauty of the scenery such as
beaches, caves, and forests, especially the teak forest.
Tuban was formerly an important port in the Majapahitera and is
mentioned in Chinese records from the eleventh century. An ancient
anchor from one of Kublai Khan's ships is preserved in the historical
museum. Tuban is believed to have been Islamised before its conquest
by Demak c. 1527. Even following its Islamisation, it remained loyal
to Hindu-Buddhist Majapahit in the interior.  The grave of Sunan
Bonang, a sixteenth-century Islamicmissionary - one of the Wali Sanga
involved in the initial spread of Islam in Java, is located in Tuban.
This site is an important destination for Muslim pilgrims.
The town's name has been derived from the following story: a mythical
pair of birds flying from Majapahit to Demak dropped a precious
heirloomstone on the town therafter named Tuban based on the Javanese
phrase "waTU tiBAN", which means "stone fallen from the sky". Another
explanation refers to flooding ("meTU BANyu" meaning "water streaming
out") that occurred when the aristocratic Islamic scholar Raden
Dandang Wacana entered the Papringan Forest, discovering an old well
near the seaside that miraculously contained freshwater. The name has
furthermore been derived from "Tubo", meaning poison, in keeping with
the name of a Tubanese subdistrict named Jenu to this day, which
carries the same meaning.
The official history of Tuban began in the Majapahit era in the 13 th
century. There was once an important ceremony when the king of
Majapahit crowned Ronggolawe as the principal of the Tuban region. It
was held on 12 November 1293and that date has become the anniversary
of Tuban, making it more ancient than Surabaya. Tuban's 700th
anniversary was celebrated with a grand parade of decorated floats in
1993. The spread of Islam was pioneered by Sunan Bonang and his
follower named Sunan Kalijaga, who was the son of the Tubanese
principal in the 13th century.
Tuban is famous for tobaccoand hardwood teak production. PT Semen
Gresik, a major state-owned cement company, opened the largest cement
factory in Indonesia in Tuban in 1994. A petrochemical plant operated
by Trans-Pacific Petrochemical Indotama (TPPI)opened in 2006 after
several years of delays.
There are two universities in Tuban, Universitas Sunan Bonang and the
recently established Universitas Ronggolawe, which started as a
Teacher Training College named IKIP PGRI TUBAN. Voluntary Service
Overseas posted a number of ELT volunteers to train local counterparts
from 1989 onwards, followed by teachers from Volunteers in Asia, all
warmly received as the only Westerners (called Londo, derived from the
Javanese word for Belanda = Dutch) in town.
Tuban is famous for its unique batik, locally known as Batik Gedog.
Typical motifs are sea animals in dark colours such as blue and
purple. There is a traditional Chinese temple named Klenteng by the
beach, which is visited by many local tourists from Surabaya and
environs, especially when Imlek, the Chinese New Year is celebrated.
Tuban is known as the "City of a Thousand Caves" since there are so
many caves in the area, containing both stalagtites and stalagmites.
Famous caves such as Goa Akbar and Goa Maharani (which contains
sophisticated pre-formed statues believed to be natural by young and
old) are located near the city. Besides, there are many recreational
sites worth visiting, such as Goa Ngerong, a natural swimming pool
called Pemandian Alam Bektiharjo, a waterfall named Air Terjun
Nglirip, and the beach and pier for young couples, Pantai Boom.
Tuban is also well-known for its beverage tuak, strong palm winetaken
from the Aren tree (called uwit bogor) served in large bamboo mugs
called centak. Historically, the Tubanese used tuak as a strategic
weapon against the colonial invaders, who were unable to fight when
inebriated. Its non-alcoholic variety named Legen is drunk by women
and children. Tuak and a kind of gin named arak are also served at
traditional dance parties known as Tayuban or Sindiran, at which
heavily made-up and padded female entertainers called Waranggono sing
satirical songs and dance with paying males till the break of dawn,
accompanied by a small gamelan orchestra. The dance movements are a
vulgarised version of the Central Javanese palatial dance style known
as Srimpi. One of the most notable of these entertainers, Nyi Sumini,
was selected as one of five representatives to perform at Jakarta's
Taman Mini Indonesia Indah park. One of Indonesia's most famous and
prolific pop bands, Koes Plus, hailed from Tuban.
The most luxurious hotel in town, the Hotel Mustika was burnt to the
ground when riots broke out after one of the candidates accused his
opponents of having framed the outcome of the local elections to
decide who would become the next regent or Bupati. The first female
candidate in Tuban's history, Haeny Relawati, won and the instigator
of the riots has been imprisoned.