Kudus takes its name from the word al-Quds – the Arabic name for Jerusalem. Founded by the Muslim saint Sunan Kudus, it’s an important pilgrimage site. Like much of Java, Kudus retains links with its Hindu past and the slaughter of cows is still forbidden here.
The town is moderately attractive, with an elongated main street that contains a huge tobacco factory. This is where the first clove cigarettes were produced, and today Kudus is still a stronghold of kretek production – there are said to be 25 factories in the town. Sukun, a manufacturer outside the town, still produces rokok klobot (clove tobacco rolled in corn leaves).