You haven’t come to Banda Aceh if you don’t see this historic The Grand Mosque Baiturrahman (or pray in it for a Muslim). The mosque is architecturally very beautiful and it has specific atmosphere resembling what we feel in the Prophet Mosque, Madinah. No wonder if this mosque is the icon of Aceh, “The Terrace of Makkah.”
The mosque has a long story, back to the era of Sultan Alaudin Mahmud Syah I in the 13th century (other version mentioned about the era of Sultan Iskandar Muda in the 17th century). The building that had multi-story pyramidal roofs was damaged by fire in 17th century and rebuilt again by Prime Minister Habib Abdurrahman by people of Aceh’s fund. When Colonial war, Major General Kohler of the Holland Army was deceased and the mosque burned.
Following the peace agreement with Aceh’s people and to get indigenous sympathy, on 9th October 1879 Holland started to build a new mosque with a totally new architecture. The latest appearance of the mosque was designed by De Bruins, an architect from Batavia (Jakarta) that consulted Penghulu Haji Hasan Mustafa Kamal, an Islamic scholar from Garut, West Java, assigned in Kutaradja (now Banda Aceh). De Bruins also adopted the beauty of selected architecture of Europe, Byzantium, Moore, Egypt, and Mughal of South Asia. But because of its floor layout formed a cross and the mosque was built by others, the people did not eager to use the new costly mosque.
Later, the mosque was modified and completed with some additional building and ornaments so that more suitable and interesting. After Indonesia independence, government still improve the mosque toward its specific style resembling The Prophet Mosque in Madinah. It has some pillars and tidy floor to make the preachers feel a direct meeting eith The Almighty comfortably. Therefore, there is also specific atmosphere when we are praying in this mosque; more pleasant and sacral compare with other regular mosques.
Today this icon of the province as “The Terrace of Makkah” is visited by so many people and families every day. Every Thursday evening after Isha prayer, they have a major weekly event at the mosque. So, don’t miss to visit and even better to make praying there. For those Non-Muslims, they serve suit to fit you to Shari ’a covering.
(from my review at TripAdvisor)