Baiturrahman Grand Mosque

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Coordinates: 5°33′13″N 95°19′1.9″E / 5.55361°N 95.317194°E / 5.55361; 95.317194

Baiturrahman Grand Mosque

Masjid Raya Baiturrahman
مسجد رايا بيتر الرحمن
Meuseujid Raya Baiturrahman

Baiturrahman Grand Mosque

Location Indonesia Banda Aceh, Indonesia
Branch/tradition Sunni (Shafi'i)
Architectural information
Architect(s) G. Bruins
Style Mughal revivalism
Capacity 30,000
Covered area 1500 square meter
Dome(s) 7 Domes
Minaret(s) 8 Minarets

Baiturrahman Grand Mosque is a Mosque located in the center of Banda Aceh city, Aceh Province, Indonesia. The Baiturrahman Grand Mosque is a symbol of religion, culture, spirit, strength, struggle and nationalism of Acehnese people. The mosque is a landmark of Banda Aceh and has survived the Boxing Day Tsunami.


The original multi-tiered Great Mosque of the Sultanate of Aceh is the most prominent building in this 18th-century view of Banda Aceh.

The original Masjid Raya ("Grand Mosque") was built in 1612 during the reign of Iskandar Muda, Sultan of Aceh. Some say the original mosque was built even earlier in 1292 by Sultan Alaidin Mahmudsyah. The original royal mosque features a multi-tiered thatched roof, a typical Acehnese architecture.[1]

During the First Aceh Expedition, the mosque became a center of armed resistance to the Dutch and therefore it was destroyed razed to the ground on 6 Januari 1874 by the East Indies Governor General van Swieten.[2] In March 1877, the Dutch offered to rebuild the mosque to the local rulers.[3] Construction only began in 1879. The first stone was laid by Tengku Qadhi Malikul Adil who became the first Imam. Construction was completed on 27 December 1881 during the rulership of Muhammad Daud Syah, the last sultan of Aceh. Initially, many Acehnese refused to pray at Baiturrahman, because it was built by the Dutch with ambitions to conquer Aceh, however today it is the pride of Banda Aceh.[3]

Before 1935, the new Baiturrahman Grand Mosque featured one dome and one minaret.

At first, the Baiturrahman Mosque featured one dome and one minaret. More domes and minarets were added in 1935, 1958 and 1982. Today the mosque has seven domes and eight minarets, including one that is claimed to be the highest minaret in Banda Aceh.[4]

Baiturrahman Grand Mosque survived the 2004 earthquake and tsunami but suffered minor damages such as wall cracks. The earthquake had slightly tilted and cracked the 35 meter minaret by the main gate. During the disaster, The mosque served as a temporary shelter for displaced persons and only reopened for prayers after two weeks.[4]

Architecture and design[edit]

Facade of Baiturrahman Grand Mosque.

The mosque was originally designed by G. Bruins, who was of unknown origin (some consider him a Dutch-Italian).[5] The design was subsequently adapted by L.P. Luijks, who also supervised the construction work done by contractor Lie A Sie.[5] The design chosen is Mughal revival style, characterized by grand domes and minarets. The unique black domes are constructed from hard wood shingles combined as tiles.

The interior is decorated with relieved wall and pillars, marble staircase and floor from China, stained-glass windows from Belgium, well-decorated wooden doors, and ornate bronze chandeliers. The building stones are from the Netherlands. At the time of its completion, this new design presented a stark contrast compared with the original mosque that many Acehnese refused to pray in the mosque, because it was built by the Dutch "infidels". Today however, the mosque has become the pride of Banda Aceh.[3]

Today, the mosque has 7 domes, 8 minarets, and 32 pillars.


A miniature of Baiturrahman Grand Mosque is featured in Minimundus miniature park, Austria.


Blessing of buffaloes at the Baiturrahman mosque at the end of Ramadan

A scene of the blessing of buffaloes at the end of the fasting month of Ramadan was captured by Dutch photographer Christiaan Benjamin Nieuwenhuis.

See also[edit]