As the largest mosque in Southeast Asia, Istiqlal Mosque is an important landmark of the capital, Jakarta, and the country of Indonesia, which stands as a symbol of national heritage, culture and impedance. Located in central Jakarta at Jalan Taman Wijaya Kusuma, the mosque dominates the area and is defined by its 45-metre wide dome supported by 12 aluminium columns. Although it is a functioning mosque built for religious purposes, non-Muslims and tourists are welcome to explore the interior and learn about the building, the religion and the significant role of the mosque in the local and wider community of Islam.
Visitors can enter the mosque through seven different entrances, through seven gates named after different Muslim names for God, and once inside, there is a collection of fountains which lead to the main prayer hall, covered by the iconic dome. Areas of the mosque are decorated with beautiful Islamic calligraphy, and scattered columns support the magnificent roof, although in general, the building is spacious and minimalist in style. One of the main features of Istiqlal Mosque is the 66.66-metre tall minaret, or tower, which rises above the building, symbolising the 6,666 verses of the Quran and stands near to the central courtyard and adhan drum, which calls Muslims to prayer. Visitors can take a tour of the mosque and receive an informational talk beforehand to ensure an educated and respectful experience of the building, and there are often community events or shared meals happening, which visitors are welcomed to attend.
Visitors can easily reach Istiqlal Mosque as it stands in the centre of Jakarta and is near to Gambir Train Station, a major transport hub of the city, connecting to other suburban areas and other nearby cities. Another transport link is Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, which is also easily accessible via public transportation, and visitors can take the metro, local bus, motorbike or taxi services between it and Gambir, which is where the mosque is.
The construction of Istiqlal Mosque was inspired by the Indonesian Independence of 1949, as officials decided to build a mosque for the nation with the largest Muslim population in the world. The mosque was built in the main square of the city, near Merdeka Square, and was designed in a competition, won by Frederich Silaban. Construction took 17 years and completed in 1978, with a capacity of 120,000.