Province of Aceh is one of the provinces, which is on the island of Sumatra. The capital of Aceh province is Banda Aceh. Do you have a plan to visit this city? Then this “Terrace of Mecca” city is a must see.
History of Baiturrahman Grand Mosque
Baiturrahman Grand Mosque is in the city center of Banda Aceh. For sure, this place is so easy to reach because of its strategic location. In fact, you can easily get to this mosque by using public transport.
This grand mosque is so famous, even Yahoo! calls it one of the top 10 of beautiful mosques in the world. This place became a historic place for many events. You may recall some; when there was the Free Aceh Movement’s conflict, it became a community mosque to pray for peace.
One of the remarkable things of this mosque is when the tsunami in 2004 happened. At that time, the Baiturrahman Mosque was still standing strong, even though almost all of the buildings, which were located around the coast of Banda Aceh were devastated by the tsunami with waves reaching over 20 meters.
The Beauty of the Mosque Architecture The most interesting thing of the mosque for tourists is its architecture. Once you enter this historic district, palm trees line the front yard, as well as gardens at the mosque. Then, you can see the entrance of the stunning mosque, following extensive mosque yard and garden beautiful.
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Most of the tourists make the yard as a place of recreation. Sometimes they take pictures in the beautiful place. In addition, there are photographers, which are ready to capture the moment of your vacation at the mosque. There are also some tourists, who use this park as a place to meditate regarding it as a quiet place in some spots. Although, sometimes there are beggars or homeless people who enter the area.
Still in this area, there is an interesting pond to look at. Here, you are allowed to feed the fishes, which are in the pond. All you need to do is buy the fishes food, which is sold around the mosque.
Another beautiful thing here is you can see many birds flying around the mosque or even perched at the top of the mosque. You can also enjoy city views from the tower, which is in front of this mosque. There is a circular staircase, which is made of concrete to reach top of the tower.
You will never see this mosque empty, especially when Azan reverberates. In the evening too, you can see many children are eager to learn Koran. By evening, food stalls around the mosque begin selling until midnight. Well, if you happen to visit this mosque at night, the reflections of the lights, which surround the pool, are a beautiful sight that you can enjoy.
One thing to remember, there is one rule that you should follow, once you enter this religious region. You must use appropriate clothes. For a woman, you should use a head scarf and wear loose clothing or clothing, which does not show the body shape. Furthermore, for those who are not Muslims, mosques staff provides the head scarf for women. Unfortunately, for tourists who are not Muslims, you are not allowed to enter inside of the mosque.
Once you enter the inside of the mosque, you can see amazing white pillars. Then there are the beautiful and decorative lights hanging from the ceiling. These lights are made of crystals that make the inside of the mosque more spectacular. Floors that adorn this mosque were not just any floors, but the floors are made of marble. This allows the atmosphere inside the mosque to stay cool even though the AC or fan are not turned on.
You can also see the marvelous mihrab and mimbar, which become major parts of this mosque. Mihrab is a semicircular niche in the wall of a mosque that indicates the qibla; that is, the direction of the Kaaba in Mecca and hence the direction that Muslims should face when praying. In addition, Mimbar is a pulpit in the mosque where the imam (prayer leader) stands to deliver sermons.
Then the mosque staff also provides “mukena” for women who will perform the prayer. Mukena is clothes (usually white color) to cover Muslim women at prayer time. But sometimes, in place of ablution for women, the place is not so clean and the amount of water is inadequate.
Although there are some things that still need to be addressed such as the amount of water and limitation of ablution places, but this does not diminish the beauty of the mosque. Grand Baiturrahman Mosque remains the pride of the people of Banda Aceh.