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Thursday 24th August
East Timor Information - Page 1
Geography
The Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste (East Timor) is in Southeastern Asia, northwest of Australia, at the eastern end of the Indonesian archipelago.

East Timor includes the eastern half of the island of Timor, the Oecussi-Ambeno enclave (separated from the rest of East Timor by West Timorese territory) and the islands of Pulau Atauro and Pulau Jaco.

Dili is the capital city and the chief port. Baucau is the second largest city in East Timor.

The terrain of East Timor is mountainous. Rivers include the Bemorl, Benmauc and Comoro.

The climate is tropical with rainy and dry seasons.

Environment
The environment suffered greatly from violence and destruction by anti-independence troops and militias in 1999. Groups such as Caritas Dili, the Haburas Foundation, and ETFOG (East Timor Forestry Group), have implemented programmes to replant and conserve native plants and trees.

A large number of whales and dolphins can be found off the coast.

Architecture
Over four hundred years of Portuguese rule in East Timor has left a number of examples of Colonial architecture. In the capital, Dili, the ruins of a fort built in 1627 can be seen as well as some Colonial style houses. Baucau's old city also has Colonial architecture from East Timor's past.

Following the 1999 UN-organized independence referendum, many buildings and homes were destroyed throughout East Timor by anti-independence troops and militias. Reconstruction of sacred buildings, Christian churches and indigenous "uma lulik", began soon after order was restored.

Population
The population of East Timor was estimated at 1,108,777 in 2008.

Languages
Tetum and Portuguese are official languages. Indonesian and English are spoken. There are over sixteen indigenous languages including Tetum.

Religion
The majority of the Timorese people are Roman Catholic.

Food
Rice is a staple food in East Timor. Maize, cassava, sweet potatoes and taro are grown. Other vegetables are beans, cowpeas, cabbage, spinach and onions. Poultry, pigs and goats are kept. Fish supplements the diet. Spices are used in a number of recipes.

Bananas, coconuts, mangoes, papayas and watermelons are cultivated.

Chinese, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese and Thai cuisine is available in the capital.

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