Until recently one of the most remote and seldom-visited regions of the Indonesian archipelago, improved air and sea transportation have opened Flores and adjacent islands to the world. Named Cabo da Flores,” Cape of Flowers” by 17th century Portuguese sailors, referring to the spectacular coral gardens visible under the surface of coastal waters, the mountainous topography of Flores has led to the development of numerous distinct traditions and languages, all overlaid by intriguing aspects of Portuguese culture.
Set high among the mountainous interior of Flores island, the three volcanic lakes at the summit of Mount Kelimutu is one of the most spectacular sights in the Indonesian archipelago. The water of each lake has a distinctive hue, which changes over the years, caused by dissolved minerals.
Hand-woven textiles, using only natural dyes and hand-spun cotton, are found throughout Flores. The prized blankets, scarves and other textile products drawn on the local environment – mountains, houses, even livestock – to produce vibrant motifs. The most important areas for weaving are Pagal, near around Ruteng, Nggela, near Ende, and Sikka near Maumere.