The gorgeous mountainous landscape of the Minang Highlands features soaring rice terraces and easily accessible traditional culture. The highlands consist of three large valleys, with Bukittinggi the administrative and commercial centre of the whole district. The highlands around Bukittinggi are the cultural heartland of the Minangkabau (Minang) people. The Minang are staunchly matrilineal, one of the largest such societies extant, and Muslim. The most visible aspect of their culture is the distinctive architecture of their homes, with massive roofs soaring skywards at either end (to represent the horns of a buffalo). Typically, three or four generations of one family would live in one large house built on stilts, the rumah gadang (big house) or rumah adat (traditional house), a wood-and-thatch structure often decorated with fabulous wooden carvings.

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