Dili (Portuguese/Tetum: Díli, Indonesian: Kota Dili), also known as “City of Peace”,[2] is the capital, largest city, chief port, and commercial centre of East Timor (Timor-Leste). Dili is part of a free trade zone, the Timor Leste–Indonesia–Australia Growth Triangle (TIA-GT).[3]


Suco of Fatuhada, in Dili. East Timor´s Ministry of External Affairs building can be seen on the left corner
Suco of Fatuhada, in Dili. East Timor´s Ministry of External Affairs building can be seen on the left corner
Dili is located in East Timor
Location in East Timor
Dili is located in Southeast Asia
Location in Southeast Asia
Dili is located in Asia
Dili (Asia)
Coordinates: 8°34′S 125°34′E / 8.567°S 125.567°ECoordinates: 8°34′S 125°34′E / 8.567°S 125.567°E
Country East Timor
District Dili
 • District administratorJaime Correia (2012)[1]
 • City48.27 km2 (18.64 sq mi)
11 m (36 ft)
 • City222,323
 • Density4,600/km2 (12,000/sq mi)
 • Metro
Time zoneUTC+09:00 (TLT)


PT Dili 1952-1975 COA
Former coat of arms
DSCI3122 Bucht von Dili
Dili, 2018
Former Market Hall built by the Portuguese

Dili was settled about 1520 by the Portuguese, who made it the capital of Portuguese Timor in 1769. It was proclaimed a city in January 1864. During World War II, Portugal and its colonies remained neutral, but the Allies saw East Timor as a potential target for Japanese invasion, and Australian and Dutch forces briefly occupied the island in 1941. On the night of 19 February 1942, the Japanese attacked with a force of around 20,000 men, and occupied Dili before spreading out across the rest of the colony. On 26 September 1945, control of the island was officially returned to Portugal by the Japanese.

East Timor unilaterally declared independence from Portugal on 28 November 1975. However, nine days later, on 7 December, Indonesian forces invaded Dili. On 17 July 1976, Indonesia annexed East Timor, which it designated the 27th province of Indonesia, Timor Timur (Indonesian for East Timor), with Dili as its capital. A guerrilla war ensued from 1975 to 1999 between Indonesian and pro-independence forces, during which tens of thousands of East Timorese and some foreign civilians were killed. Media coverage of the 1991 Dili Massacre helped revitalise international support for the East Timorese independence movement.

In 1999, East Timor was placed under UN supervision, and on 20 May 2002, Dili became the capital of the newly independent Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste. In May 2006, fighting and rioting sparked by conflict between elements of the military caused significant damage to the city and led to foreign military intervention to restore order.

Geography and administration

Sucos Dili
Administration of district Dili

Dili lies on the northern coast of Timor island, the easternmost of the Lesser Sunda Islands. It is the seat of the administration of the municipality of Dili, which is the administrative entity of the area and includes the island of Atauro and some cities close to Dili city. The city is divided into the Administrative Posts (formerly subdistricts) of Nain Feto, Vera Cruz, Dom Aleixo and Cristo Rei and is divided into several sucos, each of which is headed by an elected chefe de suco. 18 of the 26 sucos of the four administrative posts are categorised as urban.[4]

The municipality has an elected mayor and council.[5]


The 2010 census recorded a population of 193,563 in the areas of Dili district classified as urban, with a population of 234,331 in the whole district including rural areas such as Atauro and Metinaro.

Dili is a melting pot of the different ethnic groups of East Timor, due partly to the internal migration of young men from around the country in search of work. This has led to a gender imbalance, with the male population significantly larger than the female. Between 2001 and 2004, the population of Dili district grew by 12.58%, with only 54% of the district's inhabitants born in the city. 7% were born in Baucau, 5% each in Viqueque and Bobonaro 4% in Ermera, and the remainder in other districts or overseas.[6]


Dili has a Tropical wet and dry climate under the Köppen climate classification.

Buildings and monuments

Sede do Municipio de Dili 2016-04-28
Dili City Hall
Palacio do Governo 2011
Palácio do Governo (Timor-Leste´s Prime Minister´s Office)

Most buildings were damaged or destroyed in the violence of 1999, orchestrated by the Indonesian military and local pro-Indonesia militias (see Operation Scorched Earth).[8] However, the city still has many buildings from the Portuguese era. e.g. the former Market Hall built around 1930 which is used as a Congress Centre nowadays. The former Portuguese Governor's office is now the office of the Prime Minister. It was previously also used by the Indonesian-appointed Governor, and by the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET).

Hindu Tempel Dili04
Pura Girinatha Hindu temple, built during Indonesian occupation.

Even under Indonesian rule, during which the Portuguese was banned, Portuguese street names like Avenida Marechal Carmona remained unchanged, although they were prefixed with the Indonesian word Jalan or 'road'. The Roman Catholic Church at Motael became a focus for resistance to Indonesian occupation. Legacies of Jakarta's occupation are the Church of the Immaculate Conception, seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Díli, purportedly the largest cathedral in Southeast Asia, and the 'Integration Monument', commemorating the Indonesian annexation of the territory in 1976. Featuring a statue of an East Timorese in traditional dress, breaking the chains round his wrists, the monument has not been demolished.

The Cristo Rei of Dili is a 27-metre (88.6 ft) tall statue of Jesus situated on top of a globe at the end of a peninsula in Dili. It is one of the town's landmarks.[9] It was a present from the Indonesian Government during occupation for the 20th anniversary of East Timor's integration into Indonesia.


Schools in Dili include St. Joseph’s High School (Colégio de São José). There are five International schools in Dili: St Anthony's International School, which is Timorese owned and managed but teaches in English and uses a modified Australian curriculum; a Portuguese school by the name of Escola Portuguesa Ruy Cinatti; an Australian managed school by the name of Dili International School; an American curriculum school called QSI International School of Dili; and the Maharlika International School (Formerly Dili Education & Development Center), a Philippine International School. East Timor's major higher education institution, the Universidade Nacional de Timor-Leste (UNTL) is based in Dili. Other universities situated in Dili include the private undergraduate university, Universidade da Paz (UNPAZ), Universidade Dili (UNDIL) and Dili Institute of Technology (DIT), a community-based, non-profit education institution.


110623-F-HS649-551 (5881875275)
Cristo Rei of Dili atop a summit on a peninsula outside of Dili

Dili is served by Presidente Nicolau Lobato International Airport, named after independence leader Nicolau Lobato.[10] This is the only functioning international airport in East Timor, though there are airstrips in Baucau, Suai and Oecusse used for domestic flights. Until recently, Dili's airport runway has been unable to accommodate aircraft larger than the Boeing 737 or C-130 Hercules, but in January 2008, the Portuguese charter airline EuroAtlantic Airways operated a direct flight from Lisbon using a Boeing 757, carrying 140 members of the Guarda Nacional Republicana.[11]

Under Portuguese rule, Baucau Airport, which has a much longer runway, was used for international flights, but following the Indonesian invasion this was taken over by the Indonesian military and closed to civilian traffic.

Twin towns – sister cities

Dili is twinned with the following places:

City State or Region Country Year
Lisbon Lisbon District Portugal Portugal 2001[12]
Praia Praia Cape Verde Cape Verde 2001[13]
Coimbra Coimbra District Portugal Portugal 2002[14]
Margão Goa India India 2001[15]
Darwin  Northern Territory Australia Australia September 2003[16]
Ambon Maluku Indonesia Indonesia September 2003
Macau  Macau China China June 2002
Okinawa  Okinawa Japan Japan November 2005[16]
Barcelona  Catalonia Spain Spain June 2008[16]
Sydney  New South Wales Australia Australia September 2010[16]
Manila Metro Manila Philippines Philippines November 2011
Canberra  Australian Capital Territory Australia Australia June 2004[16][17]
Deserted Beach (6395938771)
Jesus Backside Beach, east of Dili

See also


  1. ^ "MoJ publishes the land maps for the Nain Feto and Vera Cruz sub-districts, Dili district « Government of Timor-Leste". Timor-leste.gov.tl. Retrieved 12 March 2015.
  2. ^ "City of Peace", VisitEastTimor.
  3. ^ "Boosting Growth through the Growth Triangle"
  4. ^ "Jornal da Republica" (PDF). Jornal.gov.tl. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 February 2010. Retrieved 12 March 2015.
  5. ^ "MAEOT - News". Estatal.gov.tl. 19 February 2009. Archived from the original on 8 April 2015. Retrieved 12 March 2015.
  6. ^ Census of Population and Housing Atlas 2004
  7. ^ "Klimatafel von Díli, Insel Timor / Ost-Timor" (PDF). Baseline climate means (1961-1990) from stations all over the world (in German). Deutscher Wetterdienst. Retrieved 29 January 2016.
  8. ^ "Profile of Dili District : Topography" (PDF). Estatal.gov.tl. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 April 2015. Retrieved 12 March 2015.
  9. ^ "Tourism in Timor? | Travel + Leisure". Travelandleisure.com. Retrieved 12 March 2015.
  10. ^ Arriving at Dili´s Airport, VisitEastTimor.
  11. ^ [1] Archived 27 June 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ http://www.uccla.pt/membro/dili
  13. ^ http://www.uccla.pt/membro/dili
  14. ^ "Geminações de Cidades e Vilas: Coimbra" (in Portuguese). Associação Nacional de Municípios Portugueses. Retrieved 13 February 2015.
  15. ^ http://www.uccla.pt/membro/dili
  16. ^ a b c d e "Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Timor-Leste: Index Page(English)". Web.archive.org. 15 May 2013. Archived from the original on 3 May 2013. Retrieved 12 March 2015.
  17. ^ "Dili, Timor-Leste - Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate". Cmd.act.gov.au. Retrieved 12 March 2015.

External links

  • Dili travel guide from Wikivoyage
10th CPLP Summit

The X Conference of Heads of State and Government of the CPLP (Portuguese: X Conferência de Chefes de Estado e de Governo da CPLP), commonly known as the 10th CPLP Summit (X Cimeira da CPLP) was the 10th biennial meeting of heads of state and heads of government of the Community of Portuguese Language Countries, held in Díli, Timor Leste, on 23 July 2014.

2008 East Timorese assassination attempts

Rebel East Timorese soldiers invaded the homes of the President and Prime Minister of East Timor on 11 February 2008, leading to the shooting and serious wounding of President José Ramos-Horta, the shooting up of the car of Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão, and the fatal shooting of rebel leader Alfredo Reinado. The attacks have been variously interpreted as attempted assassinations, attempted kidnappings and an attempted coup d'état. The rebels' intentions remain unknown.After being hospitalised in Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia, for more than a month, Ramos-Horta was discharged from hospital on 19 March but remained in Darwin until April for continued treatment.

Basilio do Nascimento

Basílio do Nascimento Martins (born 14 June 1950) is the East Timorese Roman Catholic bishop of Baucau.He was born in Suai, then Portuguese Timor. He later moved to Portugal, where he was ordained priest in Évora, in 1977. He worked for 20 years in Portugal and France before returning home in 1994, which was at the time under Indonesian occupation.He became apostolic administrator of the new Diocese of Baucau on 30 November 1996 and titular bishop on 6 January 1997. When Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo retired, Nascimento became apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Dili, until the new bishop of Dili, Alberto Ricardo da Silva, was introduced on 6 March 2004. Nascimento then became bishop of Baucau.

In October 1999, the President of the National Council of Timorese Resistance Xanana Gusmão thanked Bishop Nascimento for the support of the Church in the struggle for independence.Concerned that the names of the thousands of lives lost during Indonesia’s occupation of the country will be forgotten in the name of reconciliation with Indonesia, on 21 January 2006 he said that reconciliation with Jakarta without justice is meaningless.On March 31, 2018, Nascimento collapsed during Mass at St. Anthony's Cathedral in Baucau and was rushed to Dili National Hospital. He recovered and was discharged on 4 April 2018. He is the head of the East Timor bishop's conference.

Catholic Church in East Timor

The Catholic Church in East Timor is part of the worldwide Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope in Rome. Since its independence from Indonesia, East Timor became only the second predominantly Catholic country in Asia (after the Philippines), a legacy of its status as a former Portuguese colony. About 88.84% of the population is Catholic in East Timor as of 2006, which means over 900,000 faithful.

The country was divided into three dioceses: Dili, Baucau and Maliana (erected in 2010). These dioceses are immediately subject to the Holy See.

The Apostolic Nuncio to East Timor is concurrently the nuncio to Indonesia. The current nuncio is American archbishop Joseph Salvador Marino, and the nunciature is located in Jakarta.

Dili Harbor Lighthouse

The Dili Harbor Lighthouse (Portuguese: Farol do Porto de Díli) is a lighthouse next to the beach on the west side of Dili, capital city of East Timor.

Dili Municipality

Dili is (Portuguese: Município Díli, Tetum: Munisípiu Dili) one of the 13 municipalities, formerly districts, of Timor-Leste, which includes the national capital Dili. It had a population of 277,279 as of 2015, most of whom live in the capital city. The municipality has an area of 368.12 km2 (142.13 sq mi). The municipality continued the same name as the council had in Portuguese Timor.

Escola Portuguesa Ruy Cinatti

Escola Portuguesa Ruy Cinatti – Centro de Ensino e Língua Portuguesa (EPRC-CELP) is a Portuguese international school in Santa Cruz, Dili, East Timor.It serves levels preschool through senior high school.

Fernando Sylvan

Fernando Sylvan (Díli, 26 August 1917—Cascais, 25 December 1993) was a poet and a writer from East Timor.

He spent almost all his life in Portugal, where he would die. The distance between Portugal and Timor didn't prevent him writing about the traditions, the legends and the folklore of his homeland. He is considered among the greatest writers in Portuguese and he was a member and the president of the Sociedade de Língua Portuguesa.

Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Dili

The Immaculate Conception Cathedral (Portuguese: Catedral da Imaculada Conceição) in Dili is the main church of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Dili, East Timor.

List of Catholic dioceses in East Timor

The Catholic Church in East Timor consists only of a Latin hierarchy, joint in a national 'Episcopal conference of Timor', although it only comprises three exempt dioceses, i.e. all immediately subject to the Holy See (not part of any Ecclesiastical province) and still dependent on the missionary Roman Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

There are no Eastern Catholic, pre-diocesan or defunct jurisdictions.

There is an Apostolic Nunciature as papal diplomatic representation (embassy-level) to Timor-Leste (East Timor), but it is located in giant neighbor Indonesia's capital Jakarta, at the same address as the Apostolic Nunciature to Indonesia, which however has another incumbent.

List of cathedrals in East Timor

This is the list of cathedrals in East Timor.

Norberto do Amaral

Norberto do Amaral (born 17 February 1956) is the Bishop of Diocese of Maliana, East Timor. After attending the elementary Catholic school in Ainaro, he entered the Seminary of Our Lady of Fatima in Dare. He completed his philosophical studies from 1981–1983 and theological studies between 1985–1988 at the Major Seminary of St. Peter in Ritapiret, Flores, Indonesia. He also carried out a year of pastoral ministry in the parish of Ossú during 1984. He was ordained a priest on 18 October 1988 for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Díli.

He subsequently served in the following positions: 1988: Assistant Pastor of the Parish of Ainaro, 1989–2000: Pastor of the Parish of Maubisse, 2000–2004: Rector of the Diocesan Minor Seminary in Dili.

In 2005–2007 he undertook studies for a licentiate in dogmatic theology at the Urban University in Rome. Since 2007 he has been Professor of Dogmatic Theology and Prefect of Studies at the Major Seminary in Dili. Since 2008, he has served as Chancellor of the Diocese of Dili and Director of the Diocesan Magazine “Seara”.On 24 April 2010 he was consecrated bishop of the newly created Roman Catholic Diocese of Maliana.

Roman Catholic Diocese of Díli

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Díli (Latin: Dioecesis Diliensis) is a diocese located in the city of Díli in Timor-Leste.

The country’s only Major Seminary, the Seminary of SS Peter and Paul is located within the Diocese.In 1983 Bishop Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo S.D.B. took over the administration of Dili Diocese. Then the only diocese in the territory, the 700,000 Catholics were divided into 30 parishes administered by 71 priests.In 2017 the Diocese has 28 parishes with 585,958 Catholics.

Santa Cruz massacre

The Santa Cruz massacre (also known as the Dili massacre) was the shooting of at least 250 East Timorese pro-independence demonstrators in the Santa Cruz cemetery in the capital, Dili, on 12 November 1991, during the Indonesian occupation of East Timor and is part of the East Timorese genocide.

St Joseph's High School, East Timor

St Joseph's High School (in Portuguese: Colégio de São José) is a coeducational high school (ages 15–18) in Dili, East Timor. It was founded by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Díli in 1983-84, when East Timor was still part of Indonesia. In 1993 the school was entrusted to the Society of Jesus, with a ten-year commitment.

In 2011, the Bishop of the Diocese of Dili resumed its direction. Some 50 students are seminarians, planning to become priests.

Virgílio do Carmo da Silva

Virgílio do Carmo da Silva SDB (born 27 November 1967 in Venilale ) is an East Timorese Roman Catholic priest who was appointed Bishop of Díli on 30 January 2016.

Wetar Strait

The Wetar Strait (Indonesian: Selat Wetar) separates the eastern part of the island of Timor from the island of Wetar. It thus lies between the nations of Indonesia to the north and East Timor to the south. To the west is Atauro, and beyond it the Ombai Strait; while to the east is the southern part of the Banda Sea and the southernmost of the Maluku Islands. At its narrowest point, the strait is 36 km across.

Climate data for Dili (1914–1963)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 36.0
Average high °C (°F) 31.3
Daily mean °C (°F) 27.7
Average low °C (°F) 24.1
Record low °C (°F) 19.0
Average precipitation mm (inches) 139.5
Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm) 13 13 11 9 6 4 3 1 1 2 6 11 80
Average relative humidity (%) 80 82 80 77 75 72 71 70 71 72 73 77 75
Mean monthly sunshine hours 189.1 161.0 235.6 234.0 266.6 246.0 272.8 291.4 288.0 297.6 270.0 220.1 2,972.2
Mean daily sunshine hours 6.1 5.7 7.6 7.8 8.6 8.2 8.8 9.4 9.6 9.6 9.0 7.1 8.1
Source: Deutscher Wetterdienst[7]
Buildings and structures
Capitals of Asia

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