Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Mosque Week - Masjid Bandaraya Kota Kinabalu


The Masjid Bandaraya Kota Kinabalu is one of the main mosques within the city, built to compliment the older state mosque at Jalan Mat Salleh. It was completed in 1999 (actual date of construction was begun in 1989 but halted due to problems) to commemorate the city's status change and is now regarded as the city's main mosque while the latter is still acknowledged as the state mosque for the whole of Sabah. The mosque was built through land reclamation and is situated along the coastal highway at the midpoint between the city center and the Tun Mustapha Building (Sabah Foundation Building) and is at the entryway to Likas. The mosque commands a great view of Likas Bay in the front with panaromic view of the Tunku Abdul Rahman Islands while large mountain ranges shrouds the background. The mosque is unique in the fact that its architecture incorporates a tidal lagoon that gives the impression that the mosque is afloat as seen from the front, the level of the man made lagoon is controlled through a lock that empties to the tidal flats along the coastal highway.


The mosque is of typical Islamic architecture and decorated with geometric designs, it is rectangular is shape and connected by several peripheral buildings with pathways that is built atop the lagoon. There are two domes decorating the mosque, a central large dome with yellow and blue motifs adorning the front of the mosque and a smaller version near the center. Four main minarets adorn the middle and back edges of the structure. The building is mainly painted white and blue. At night the view can be breathtaking as the mosque is lit up especially during Rahmadan and the azan can be heard playing to call muslims to prayers.


Admittingly the simplicity of the layout and design does not diminish its magnificent architecture and it stands imposingly as one drive by through one of Kota Kinabalu's main throughfare. Nearby is the Malay village of Kampung Likas whereby a combination of shanty structures of the poorer classes intermingles with the more affluent bungalows of the more well to do. A short walking distance one can find excellent Muslim Indian fare such as Krishna's Curry Housen and Bismillah restaurant which offers hot and spicy curries, roti canais and Briyani rice at affordable prices. To the side is the Likas Lagoon, a protected miniature wetland that plays host to a variety of migratory birds that uses it as a stopover point and feeding ground.


Clearly the mosque is one of the more interesting places in Kota Kinabalu to visit and is a sight when reflected in the lagoon during the night. Tourist buses can be seen frequently aligning tourists who finds the vista splendid for a commemorative shot. As usual visitors will have to abide by the dress code such as formal wear with long pants and women are required to cover their heads, visiting is open to the public but entry is restricted 10 minutes before and after prayers to ensure no interuption for the devout.

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