Take one look at the Malacca Straits Mosque and you would think it is floating on water. This beautiful modern mosque is white and heavenly to behold. More popularly referred to using its Malay name, Masjid Selat Melaka or Masjid for short, this frequently photographed mosque is located on the southern end of the man-made Malacca Island, which is to the south of the city of Malacca. The mosque is facing the famous Malacca Strait. It is built on stilts over the water so that it looks as though it is floating when water levels are high. This functioning mosque that looks more like a dreamy theme park than a religious institution was opened on November 24, 2006, with Opening Ceremonies led by the supreme ruler of Malaysia, Tuanku Syed Sirajuddin Syed Putra. Cost of construction of this extremely beautiful structure is MYR10 million.
About Malacca Island
The magnificent mosque is the main attraction of the artificial island, which is a RM1.5 billion project of the Government of Malaysia. On the man-made island, the plan is to develop 4,387 residential units and 4,180 business units. Soon there will be marine theme parks, marina, hotels and other facilities near the Masjid on this island that is projected to soon be the leading leisure-cum-tourism destination in Malaysia.
About Malacca City
As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Malacca (or Melaka) is known as Malaysia’s most historic city. In the past, it was referred to as “Venice of the East” because of its romantic river cruise along structures that represent old European architecture. There are a number of mosques, temples and churches in Malacca, since the city is a melting pot of Eastern and Western religions, cultures and races. The Malays are here, as well as Chinese, Indians, Arabs, Portuguese and Dutch. The oldest Chinese temple in Malaysia is here, as well as the oldest Protestant Church.
Besides the historic and cultural sites, Malacca is also known for its amazingly friendly people. Foreign tourists are always surprised at the hospitality of the Malaccans, as though they were born to entertain guests. With a total population of 759,000 as of 2007, 57% are Malays, 32% are Chinese, while the rest are Indians, Dutch Eurasians, and Portuguese descendants. There is an obvious mixing of cultures that, in fact, a new one has been created – the Baba Nyonya culture, which pertains to the Chinese-Malay population. There is a blending of races, cultures and people because historic Melaka was colonized by the Portuguese, Dutch and British, and was influenced by the Chinese, Indians and Arabs. It is believed that Islam arrived in the 14th Century and became the official religion. Today, Malacca Straits Mosque stands as the most grandiose symbol of this religion. It is an architectural and aesthetic eye-candy that it is very much a tourist attraction as it is a house of worship.
Although “floating” on Malacca Strait, the Malacca Straits Mosque may not be accessed by boat. Visitors and devotees of the Masjid simply drive to it from Malacca City.