A unique style

The island of Timor has a long, proud history and a rich culture built over centuries. Many different ethnic influences have contributed to the island’s development.

Sacred Houses

The term uma lulik refers to the symbolic representation of a descent group (uma lisan). It is a symbol for descent group and those other groups that have a direct or indirect relation with it (such as between fetosaaand umane– wife-givers and wife-takers). It means that the uma lulikis a symbol of the larger family, its history and its relationship with the land on which it rests. Timor-Leste has many different methods of architecture and construction. From a material perspective it is a building made mostly of natural materials such as local hardwoods, arenga pinnatafiber rope and bamboo.

The uma lulikof Timor-Leste a repository of the ceremonies and rituals of its peoples. It also provides a scenario for the adoration of rocks and plants and as the place for people of one descent group to communicate with their ancestors.

Who are the custodians of traditional knowledge

To understand traditional knowledge is acknowledge that while many people have traditional knowledge there are always people who know than others about specific things. A relevant example is comparing a person that lives in a coastal area and fishes for a living to one that lives in the mountains and farms. There are also people who live in the same place but have different traditional knowledge. This is also influenced by the social structure or the social roles of individuals and their specialist role.Specialists include carpentry, story telling (lia nain), village chiefs, medics, catechists, teachers and soothsayers (matan dook). They are are called upon as needed depending on the situation.