America once had twin towers (WTC). Malaysia has twin towers (Petronas Tower). Even in film Lord of the Ring also has twin towers! Bandung was not to be outdone. It is located right in the heart of the city – at Bandung Townhall. Masjid Agung Bandung (the Bandung’s Grand Mosque), now stands majestically, becoming one of the Bandung’s iconic building.
At first, around the year 1812 the Grand Mosque is only a simple traditional building, made of bamboo and thatched. The roof has not conical (Sundanese : nyungcung). Only a broad pool of water as a purification ritual that is in the front yard, which is a sign for religious buildings. There was a big fire in 1825 at town-hall, the water-pool is critical-saving-instrumental to safe the Grand Mosque on that time. A year later, the cubicle walls and bamboo had replaced with woods.
In 1850, the mosque was overhauled. Woods was replaced with stone. The roof using tiles. Entering 1900, the existence of the Grand Mosque completed with special features like a traditional mosques, including stacking three overlapping roof (sundanese : roof nyuncung), pool, east facing buildings, tombs, and no tower.
In 1930, there were additions to the mosque building. Namely a pair of short towers on either side of the building. Since that year, the building around the Square was established a kind of fortress or wall cavities with typical ornaments Priangan style. Motifs on the wall are fish scales designed by Maclaine Pont, the architect who designed the West Hall ITB.
In 1955, regarding with the implementation of the Asian-African Conference in Bandung, the Grand Mosque was again experiencing a major reshuffle. The appearance of the mosque at front side, was changed. Both the tower dismantled, and the expanded porch. A single tower was set on the front yard the mosque to the south. Drastic changes occur in the form of the roof of the main building. The mosque at first stood known as its nickname “Bale Nyuncung” because of the shape of the roof, is now change become “onion” shape. The onion dome shaped was designed by Indonesia’s first President, Soekarno. He took the middle eastern style as inspiration for the Grand Mosque’s roof dome. The onion-shaped-roof dome last for 15 years. In 1970, the reform re-occur.
Entering the 2000s, the Grand Mosque finally officially changed its name to the “Masjid Raya Bandung West Java Province”. Residents still call it “Mesjid Agung”. In 2003, the reform that took cost 36 billion rupiah, completed done. Meanwhile the front yard the mosque who overhauled. Placed in the basement parking of vehicles while the top is a park, a public area where people congregate. This is one of the city government effort to restore the Square as of yore. Basement for parking was also originally planned to accommodate street traders (street vendors), although to date not been realized.
The mosque that was completed renovated in January 13, 2006 and this does have advantages, namely that there are tourism of the tower on the north and south of the mosque. On top of the mosque tower that has a height of about 86.79 meters, visitors can see and be pampered with a view of Bandung city, even if the weather is sunny, Mount Tangkuban Parahu located in North Bandung area can also be seen.
Any visitors who will visit and go up to the Grand Mosque’s tower has to buy a ticket for Rp 2,000/each person. The deadline for visitors to be on top of the tower is also not restricted. But usually when the tower is full, visitors who had already been up, will soon go down. The average visitor is above the tower for 15 minutes. The capacity of the tower itself as much as 70 people. But sometime, even on the top of the tower has no open area, for some people who have phobias of heights, tour on the Bandung’s Great Mosque Tower will give memories and “tension” of its own. 🙂