Monday, February 13, 2012

History: Tranquerah Mosque

The Tranquerah Mosque

The Tranquerah Mosque is a Sumatran-style historical mosque with a three-tiered wooden roof or also called ‘bumbung tiga lapis’. It is one of the few mosques with a pagoda instead of a minaret. Alongside it is the tomb of Sultan Hussain Shah, the ruler of the territories of Johore and Singapore in the early 19th century. Sultan Hussain Shah is famous (or perhaps infamous) for agreeing to sell Singapore to Sir Stamford Raffles in 1819.

The pagoda or minaret

Also called Masjid Tengkera, the mosque is one of the oldest mosques in Melaka. It is located in Melaka Tengah or Central Melaka District, along Jalan Tengkera to the northwest of Melaka old town. Until the Al-Azim Mosque at Bukit Palah was built, Tranquerah Mosque was the main mosque or State Mosque for Melaka State.

Tranquerah Mosque was first built in 1728, the same year as Kampung Hulu Mosque which was after the Dutch relaxed the rule on the freedom of worship of non-Protestant faith. 

The carvings on the wood pillars

The design of Tranquerah Mosque which reflects elements of Sumatran architecture bears testament that Islam has been in Malaysia for 600 hundred years. The original mosque structure was made of wood with timber brought from Kalimantan, Indonesia. Since then, it has undergone renovation and restoration several times.

The mimbar

The first recorded restoration of the Tranquerah mosque was carried out in 1780. The structure as seen today dates back to that time. The whole structure was rebuilt except for the minaret. As with most of the mosques in Melaka, the main prayer hall was built with three-level roof and four great pillars or ‘empat tiang agung’. 

Four great pillars or ‘empat tiang agung’

The balcony

The main prayer hall

The prayer hall was divided into the main prayer hall and the balcony. The decoration bear elements of Malay, Chinese and Indonesian styles and ornamentation. During restoration, the ceiling of the prayer hall was returned to its original design. 

The entrance door

The entrance gate and doors were also repaired. The mosque bears some resemblence to Masjid Kampung Laut, the oldest mosque in Malaysia.