Jame’asr Hassanal Bolkiah Mosque in Gadong, Bandar Seri Begawan
During my trip in Malaysia last 2007, we were able to side-track for a couple of days in Bandar Seri Begawan, the capital of Brunei. Brunei is located at the north end of the island of Borneo. Brunei is completely surrounded by the Malaysian State of Sarawak. Brunei is just a couple of hours (through ferry) away from Labuan, Malaysia where I was staying.
Being an predominantly Islam country, we made it a point to visit the different Islamic landmarks which depicts the cultural heritage of the country. Two of these are the Jame’asr Hassanal Bolkiah Mosque in Gadong Area and the other one is the famous national mosque of Brunei, the Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque located at the heart of Bandar Seri Begawan.Stained-glass interior of the Jame’asr Hassanal Bolkiah Mosque
Due to some constraints in time, we were only able to explore one of the two mosques. We were able to get inside of Jame’asr Hassanal Bolkiah Mosque, locally known as Kiarong Mosque. Upon entering the mosque, we were asked to take our shoes off. This seems a common practice for Muslims when entering their mosques. The biggest dome in the mosque contains the place where the Muslims pray. Taking of photos in this area was prohibited. We were also asked to wear black robes while we were taking our tour within the mosque. The Kiarong Mosque is said to be the biggest in Brunei.
The gardens which surrounds the majestic mosque
The other mosque which we were not able to explore is the Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque located at the heart of Bandar Seri Begawan. Though I was not able to get inside the mosque, I had the opportunity to take pictures while taking a stroll in one of the malls of Brunei. The Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque is considered by the locales as their countries major landmark. The said mosque is also known as the National Mosque of Brunei.
The most recognizable feature of this mosque is it’s main dome’s material. The main dome is covered with pure gold. The design of the whole structure is influenced by both Islam and Italian since the structure was designed by an Italian architect.
If given an opportunity, I’d love to go back to Brunei. It’s a small yet, it’s a very rich nation.