Riau is a province of Indonesia, located in the center of Sumatra along the Strait of Malacca. Riau is currently one of the richest provinces in Indonesia. This province is rich with natural resources, particularly petroleum, natural gas, rubber, palm oil and fiber plantations. The Riau Islands were part of Riau province until 2004, when they were made a separate province.
Pekanbaru is the capital of Riau, a province in Indonesia on the island of Sumatra. It has an area of 632.26 km˛ and population of over 793,000. Located on the Siak River, which drains to the Strait of Malacca, Pekanbaru has direct access to the busy strait and was long known as a trading port (the city name is derived from the Indonesian words of 'new market' or 'new town', "pekan" meaning 'market' or 'town', and "baru" meaning 'new').
The city is divided into 12 subdistricts (kecamatan). The Sultan Syarif Qasim II International Airport serves Pekanbaru with direct flights to Batam, Jakarta, Malaysia (Malacca and Kuala Lumpur), Singapore and other destinations in Indonesia.
A settlement has existed on the city site since the 17th century. In the late 19th century, the city developed to serve the coffee and coal industries, and the Dutch built roads to help ship goods to Singapore and Malacca. After oil was discovered in the region in the 1930s, Pekanbaru's economy has depended heavily on oil revenues and made the city with the highest per capita income in Indonesia.
Most of Indonesia's petroleum is produced in Riau, and much of Pekanbaru's economy is based on the petroleum industry. International oil companies, such as Chevron from US, as well as other Indonesian companies, have established their offices in the region. This location for oil has proven to be one of the best money providers in the world. The city is connected by road to an oil refining and exporting port at Dumai.
Many facilities, including an airport, three stadiums (building a fourth), swimming pool, one of the two bridges that cross the Siak River near the city, the roads in Rumbai area, and also the road to Dumai, were partially or fully financed by oil companies working in the area.
Pekanbaru is one of the cleanest big cities in Indonesia and in 2006 received the "Adipura" award ('clean city') in the category of large city, again, for the second consecutive time in 2007. The city is also notable for its wide streets, which are in the city's main. Pekanbaru regularly suffers, however, from smoke or smog due to forest fires, particularly in the dry season, since there is no rain to put the fires out. The fires also can be traced from people simply burning their trash or freshly cut grass. Most of the fires are intentionally started, but unintentionally grow into dangers.
Because Pekanbaru is a major gateway into Indonesia from Singapore, the city is becoming a favorite stop before travelers go further inland Indonesia. The Pasar Pusat market is a food-trip destination and a household-goods trove as well. Pasar Bawah and Pasar Tengeh in the port area have Chinese goods, including ceramics and carpets.
Some tourist attractions in Pekanbaru are the Great Mosque of An-Nur, Alam Mayang Fishing Garden, Sang Nila Utama Museum, Riau Cultural Park, Princess Kaca Mayang Garden, Soeman HS Main Library and Sari Valley Artificial Lake. Pekanbaru is becoming known as a center of Malay culture; a Malay culture festival was held there in 2004.