Photos of Wamena - main town in the Baliem Valley, West-Papua

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Wamena - main town in the Baliem Valley

The town of Wamena, next to its airport, has grown to be the largest town in the Papuan highlands with a population of around 10,000. It is the centre of the Baliem Valley with a market and shops, serving the Dani people from surrounding villages. There is a contrast between the people in traditional attire and those who dress in western clothing, including the Indonesian transmigrants who have settled here and run all businesses. There are hotels, restaurants and even an expensive tourist resort; tourism has become big here.

Wamena airport
 
Plane at the airport
 
Wamena market
 
In the market
 
Two Dani men
 
Having a meeting
 
Dani couple
 
Dani women
 
On the road
 
Huts at Wesaput
 
Early morning, Wamena
 
Carrying bananas
 
At Wamena market
 
An old couple
 
Wamena judo club
 
Kali Wamena
 
Hotel Baliem
 
Selling firewood
 
Man and children
 
Dani men smoking
 
Shops in Wamena
 
Selling ''holim''
 
Woman at market
 
Two Dani men
 
Men at the market
 
Mother and child
 
Early morning, Wamena
 
Early morning, Wamena
 
Boy with fish
 
Aerial view, Wamena
 

When the "Act of Free Choice" was conducted here in 1969 it was observed that only 20 of the 175 "selected" Dani people to vote for Indonesia wore the Indonesian colours: only a month earlier 100 Dani men and boys had been executed by Indonesian troops; even as the act of "free choice" was being held at Wamena, large numbers of villagers at the western end of the highlands were still fighting the occupying forces.

The airport is the only one in this region that accommodates the Hercules aircraft of the Indonesian military (TNI), a grim reminder to the Papuan people. A fire however, destroyed all buildings of the airport, including terminals, on 26 September 2011.