Exploring the Mosques of Malaysia
If exploring mosques tops your agenda, then Malaysia will need to make it onto your travel itinerary. This country celebrates an incredible display of mosques. In fact, in many cities you can visit multiple mosques.
If you are visiting a mosque for the first time Here are a few things to know before you go.
Iron Mosque, Putrajaya
Also known as Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin Mosque, Iron Mosque holds up to 20,000 individuals. Every Friday this venue reaches capacity as local residents and government employees congregate for prayer.
Started in 2004, this stunning structure primarily made of steel pulled varies from most other structures in the region. The designer pulled inspiration from German and Chinese architecture. The most notable part of the design is the absence of the minaret.
But don’t discredit it for diverging from the traditional. This mosque will wow you at every corner. From the strategic open-air floor plan to the way light travels seamlessly throughout the building. It creates one of the most unique and delightful ambiances you’ll encounter. It’s enhanced by the Qur’anic versus inscribed on several walls.
The neighboring Putrajaya mosque attracts the majority of visitors, which means the Iron Mosque’s visitor entrance isn’t as easy to find. When visiting, we stumbled upon it. We were able to enter in through the entrance opposite the water. It was the door facing the Perbadanan Putrajaya. We happened to find a door where there were we ran into an incredible volunteer who doubles as a tour guide. It was a coincidence that worked out fantastically for us. He escorted us to where we could pick up robes and then showed us around the mosque.
I don’t know if it can be replicated. Hopefully you can as it made for a great way to visit the mosque.
One really cool thing was to see several wedding happening at the mosque visiting. The main floor was so large that there were three weddings happening simultaneously. I’ve never seen an Islamic bride and groom before. Beautiful attire.
Putra Mosque, Putrajaya
Holding up to 15,000 worshipers, the rose tinted Putrajaya Mosque has many features taking after the King Hassan Mosque in Casablanca, Morocco. Embodying Islamic-architecture this mosque pulls inspirations from traditional design seen in Malaysia, Persia and other prominent regional mosques. It was completed in 1999.
Each of the four domes is made of pink granite filled with intricate patterning. The coloring gives this mosque the nickname “Pink Mosque.” The minaret reaches 380 feet (116 meets) into the sky. The open prayer room holds 12 columns. The 118-foot (36 meters) dome captures the main attention of visitors.
We left the Iron Mosque right as prayers started to walk to the Putra Mosque. The two mosques were so close in proximity that you could hear the call to prayer from the Iron Mosque a split second ahead of the call to prayer from the Putra Mosque. An overall fantastic experience for a very long walk. If you have access to a bike, I highly recommend it. The walking distance between the two far exceeded expectations.
Arriving at the Putra Mosque made up for the walk. The dramatic architecture is absolutely jaw dropping. It also had a clear entrance for guests to go through directing you directly to the desk for picking up a robe. Guests are then invited to tour the premises independently. Self-guided is a perfect way to explore.
Floating Mosque, Melaka
Formally titled the Malacca Straits Mosque, this mosque is referred to as the Floating Mosque as it sits over the water giving a stunning illusion of floating. Much smaller than the Kuala Lumpur mosques, this mosque holds 2,000 worshipers. The vibrant stain glass windows and golden dome stand out against the white building drawing the onlooker in. Completed in 2006, this mosque draws inspiration from both Malaysian and Eastern designs.
If you’re doing a day trip to Melaka, this mosque is quite off the beaten path for tourists. It’s well worth the visit if you’re looking to soak in the beauties of Islamic architecture and stunning mosque designs.
We rented bikes to tour the city. While it’s not necessarily a bike friendly trek, you can ride from the square where Malacca Christ Church is. Make sure to pick up a map at the tourist office to help navigate. You’ll also run into a variety of one-way streets.
The mosque sits on a man mad island jut over a bridge from the city area. To be honest, there wasn’t a lot else on the island when we visited. We did see billboards showcasing plans for decedent condominiums and signs of construction.
Once arriving at the mosque, you’ll discover an area for men and women before the entrance to the mosque. Each has an area where guests can borrow robes. The greeters at the entrance can point you in the right direction.
National Mosque, Kuala Lumpur
Nestled in the heart of Kuala Lumpur you’ll discover the National Mosque of Malaysia. Every Friday this mosque fills to the brim with 15,000 worshipers. Celebrating Malaysia’s break from British Empire rule, the National Mosque was completed in 1965. The modern style with reinforced concrete symbolizes the new independence in the country. The iconic minaret stands 240 feet high from within the middle of the building.
Random fact: originally the site was home to a church.
This was actually the first mosque we visited. We were working at the Kuala Lumpur Library not too far away and decided to visit on our way back. Coming from the north put us at the school when we got to the mosque. The south entrance had a great desk for visitors to check in, robes for borrowing and a place to put your shoes.
Once inside exploring, we discovered a dedicated staff member standing at the entrance to the prayer hall to answer visitor’s questions.
If you’ve never had the opportunity to visit a mosque, I highly recommend it. Not only is the architecture unlike any designs you’ve seen, there is an incredible serenity in the buildings. After visiting four mosques, everyone we met was incredibly friendly, warm and welcoming. In fact, they were incredibly eager to answer questions and dispel misconceptions about Islam.