If there is a place that you must visit when you come to Banda Aceh, it is the Baiturrahman Grand Mosque.
This Mosque has a historical site that has existed since the heyday of the Aceh Sultanate and has survived until now. This mosque has been through various things, from the tragedy of burning by the Dutch colonial in 1873 to the tsunami hit in late 2004.
Baiturrahman Great Mosque was first built in the era of the Aceh Sultanate. The roof of the mosque was made in accordance with the characteristics of mosques in Indonesia at that time, the pyramid roof has four layers.
There are two historical versions of the history of the construction of this mosque.
Some sources say that this mosque was founded in 1292 AD by Sultan Alauddin Johan Mahmudsyah. Meanwhile, other sources say that this mosque was founded by Sultan Iskandar Muda in 1612 AD
In its journey, this mosque was burned down by the Dutch during the attack on Koetaradja (Banda Aceh) on April 10, 1873. The collapse of the mosque building triggered an outbreak of resistance from the Acehnese people. They fought to defend the mosque to the death. During this battle, the Dutch lost their commander, Major General Johan Harmen Rudolf Köhler on April 14, 1873.
The mosque building was then rebuilt by the Dutch on the orders of General Van Der Heijden. The rebuilding of this mosque was part of an effort to reduce the resistance of the Acehnese people to the Dutch occupation. The process of rebuilding Majid Raya Baiturrahman took place from 1879-1881 AD The new building architecture was made by de Bruchi which adapted the Moghul (Indian) style.
The mosque, which is located in the center of Banda Aceh, has since expanded several times. The first occurred in 1936. On the efforts of the Governor-General A. PH. Van Aken carried out the construction of two domes on the right and left sides of the mosque. Furthermore, in 1958-1965, the mosque building was again expanded. In this second expansion, two domes and two towers on the west side (mihrab) were added. The five domes represent the five elements in Pancasila.
In 1992, the construction was carried out with the addition of two domes and five towers. In addition, the courtyard of the mosque has also been expanded so that the total area of the mosque is currently 16,070 square meters.
When a tsunami wave as high as 21 meters hit the coast of Banda Aceh on December 26, 2004, this mosque was one of the buildings that survived – despite damage to several parts of the mosque.
Post-tsunami renovation efforts cost IDR 20 billion. The funds come from international assistance, including the Saudi Charity Campaign. The renovation process was completed on January 15, 2008. Currently, the Baiturrahman Grand Mosque is the center for the development of Islamic activities for the people of Banda Aceh.
The mosque’s grounds are filled with white ceramics, giant umbrellas typical of the Prophet’s Mosque, fish ponds, and parks will spoil you while spending time in this mosque.
Inside the mosque, you will find a cool atmosphere. Shelf containing the Koran scattered in the mosque will make your i’tikaf activities more comfortable.
Around the mosque, there is a traditional market that sells a variety of necessities, from Islamic clothing, worship tools, jewelry, books to food. There is also a money changer directly opposite the front fence of the mosque. And also, there are several coffee shops that sell robusta filter coffee, here you can taste Aceh’s typical manual filter coffee.
Within a radius of 1 kilometer from the mosque, you can find several other destinations such as Bustanussalatin Park, one of the green open spaces that people often use to spend the afternoon. In this park, the government often holds various events.
In addition, there is the Aceh Tsunami Museum. This museum, which contains galleries and artifacts from the 2004 Aceh tsunami disaster, will add to your traveling experience. To enter here, you don’t need to buy a ticket or it’s free. The museum is about a 9-minute walk from the Baiturrahman Grand Mosque.
How to Get There?
Baiturrahman Great Mosque is located on Mohd Jam street, Kampung Baru, Baiturrahman District.
This mosque is about a three-minute drive or nine-minute walk from the Banda Aceh Mayor’s Office.
If you don’t have a private vehicle, there are several alternatives you can use to go to the mosque.
First, using the Trans Kutaraja mass transportation. All-Trans Kutaraja corridors will stop at the bus stop right next to the Baiturrahman Grand Mosque.
Using Trans Kutaraja services is free of charge.
Second, you can use online transportation services through the Go-Jek or Grab application.
Finally, use local transportation such as rickshaws or taxis.