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Istiqlal Mosque

Istiqlal Mosque

Istiqlal Mosque

Istiqlal Mosque, Largest Mosque in Indonesia and South East Asia. The interior of Istiqlal mosque; the grand domed prayer hall supported by 12 columns.

Sukarno actively followed the planning and construction of the mosque, including acting as the chairman of the jury for the mosque design competition held in 1955. The design submitted by Frederich Silaban, a Christian architect, with the theme: “Ketuhanan” (Indonesian: Divinity) was chosen as the winner. The foundation stone was laid by Sukarno on 24 August 196 and the construction took 17 years. Indonesian president Suharto inaugurated the Indonesian national mosque on 22 February 1978. It is still the largest mosque in the region: more than 120,000 people can congregate at the mosque at the same time.


The rectangular main prayer hall building is covered by a 45 meter diameter central spherical dome. The dome is supported by twelve round columns and the prayer hall is surrounded by rectangular piers carrying four levels of balcony. Staircases at the corners of the building give access to all floors. The main hall is reached through an entrance covered by a dome 10 meters in diameter. The interior design is minimalist, simple and clean cut, with minimal adornment of aluminium geometric ornaments. The 12 columns are covered with aluminium plates. On the main wall on qibla there is a mihrab and minbar in the center. On the main wall, there is a large metalwork of Arabic calligraphy spelling the name of Allah on the right side and Muhammad on the left side, and also the calligraphy of Surah Thaha 14th verse in the center.

The latter structure is directly connected to the arcades which run around the large courtyard. The mosque also provides facilities for social and cultural activities, including lectures, exhibitions, seminars, conferences, bazaars and programmes for women, young people and children.

Some Muslims in Indonesia said Istiqlal’s dome and minaret structure was too Arabic in style. They regarded the architecture as being out of harmony with the Islamic culture and architecture in Indonesia. In response, former president Suharto began an initiative to construct more mosques of the Javanese triple-roofed design.

The mosque can accommodate up to 120,000 people. The prayer hall is supported by 12 columns and is covered by 45-meter central spherical dome. It was designed to be cooled without air conditioning by blocking sunlight and ensuring a free flow of winds.

Taken from: http://omponk.routelink.net/blog/istiqlal-mosque-by-christian-architect

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