Pekanbaru is the capital of Riau province. Once,
the town was a small village called Payung Sekaki located on Siak
riverbank. Because the Senapelan tribe established the village,
it was better known as 'Senapelan'. Today, Pekanbaru is a booming
oil town with an international airport, which can accommodate foreign
tourist entering Indonesia via Singapore or Malacca. About 160 km
upstream on Siak river, Pekanbaru, has a number of buildings in
the traditional style of the area, among them Balai sang Merdu,
Balai Adat and Taman Budaya Riau or Riau Cultural Park.
Under the reign of the fourth Sultan of Siak, Sultan
Abdul Jalil Alamuddin Syah (1766-1780), Senapelan was made the central
seat of Siak kingdom. During this period, trade developed prosperously,
and the idea emerged to establish a 'pekan', a kind of market of
which the activities were performed on certain days of the week.
After the death of the Sultan, his son, Sultan Muhammad Ali Abdul
Jalil Muazzam Syah, who reigned from 1780 to 1782, further pursued
the idea. From 1784, the name Senapelan started to be no longer
in use, but the city was referred to as Pekanbaru (new trading place)
After being under the reign of Siak Sultanate,
Pekanbaru became a Dutch colony, followed then by the Japanese occupation.
Today, many monuments still remember these eras and the struggle
for independence. In 1959, Pekanbaru was established as the capital
of Riau Province, which formerly was Tanjung Pinang.