When an elegant domed silhouette of light blue emerges on the island of Java, Indonesia, you know you have discovered the largest mosque on the island: the Surabaya Grand Mosque, otherwise known as the National Masjid Al Akbar, its more formal title. The mosque’s most distinctive feature is its egg-shaped dome, a rather unusual aspect that is a departure from the traditional architecture of the mosques in the country. However, this unique artistic feature adds volumes to the site’s spiritual appeal, and it draws both devotees and visitors in droves.
As you approach this majestic monument, you will see, upon closer inspection that the dome is covered with green and blue tiles harmoniously arranged in an interlinking pattern that evokes the intricate loops, curls, and whorls of both the Arabic language and traditional Islamic art. This meticulous style bleeds into the mosque’s spacious and expansive interior, which is an ocean of quiet that provides ample space for deep contemplation, meditation, and prayer.
A profusion of ornate doors provide entry and exit to and from the stunning spiritual centre, constructed of teak wood that was especially commissioned for the project from the forests of Perhutani and shaped into massive doors in Surabaya. Cool marble covers the floors and the walls of the interior, imported from Lampung. When you walk into the mosque, make sure you pause for a moment beneath the magnificent dome and look up, as the interlinking lines and shapes encapsulates the concept of unity, presenting a visually mesmerizing sight to behold.
Venture outside into the mosque’s plaza and you will see a gleaming tower of white that is the mosque’s minaret. At an imposing height of 99 metres, it unveils splendid views of the city of Surabaya from a bird’s eye perspective, so ensure you ride the elevator to the top of the tower to see the cityscape unfolding around you. Chances are, you might be able to spot your hotel from there.
After you soak in the mosque’s breathtaking architectural and spiritual elements, return home to a luxury apartment Surabaya has to offer all its corporate and leisure visitors. Presenting an excellent option for accommodation in Surabaya are the elegant surrounds of the Somerset Surabaya Hotel and Serviced Residence. With gracious hospitality, this excellent rest will make any foray into Surabaya utterly unforgettable.
Angela Fernando is an impassioned travel writer who composes pieces under the pen name Sumaira Narayan. She loves writing about new and exciting places around the world and hopes to visit them all someday. Google+