During Dutch colonial days Medan developed into the important commercial hub that it remains. Many colonial-style buildings still stand, in interesting contrast to the Grand Mosque with its black domes and turquoise tiles, the eclectic Sultan Deli palace, and modern construction. Adventures await in the lush surrounding countryside: at an orangutan rehabilitation center, where these appealing primates are reintroduced to the wild; and past rubber plantations and terraced rice paddies en route to Lake Toba, the immense basin born of an enormous volcanic eruption, which shelters in its center Samosir Island, the cultural home of the Batak tribe.
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