A sculpture of a giant wave marks Lambaro, one of four mass grave sites, where 46,000 bodies are buried. A hotel front desk displays a photo of smashed boats filling its parking lot. The dome from a mosque 1Â½ km away rests in an emerald-green rice field.
Water streams down the cavelike walls of the Tsunami Museum, which serves as both a memorial and evacuation site, with a knoll on high ground offering refuge in case another tsunami strikes. The center of the museum is an atrium that rises above a park, decorated with the word â€œPeaceâ€ and the flags of countries that provided assistance. Exhibits explain how the community worked together to rebuild, and how the formerly embattled province even found ways to make peace after the disaster, with rebels in a long and bloody separatist fight signing a deal with the central government.
Although Banda Aceh suffered the worst destruction and death, the tsunami struck 14 countries, including Thailand, Sri Lanka and India, killing almost 230,000 people and displacing more than 1.7 million others. Citizens from 38 other countries, mostly European, also lost their lives, including 500 each from Germany and Sweden.