One popular landmark in Medan is the Great Mosque, locally known as Masjid Raya, considered to be the biggest and most beautiful mosque in the whole of North Sumatra. It is often used by the Moslem community in Medan for daily prayers. Together with Maimoon Palace, it has been one of the legacies of Sultan Deli in North Sumatra. Given the intricate decorations inside the temple, it is easy to believe that some of the materials used for adornments were created in Italy. Every year, more and more foreigners visit this gorgeous mosque, all of them coming from different parts of the world.
Built in 1906, the construction of this century-old mosque was led by Sultan Makmun Al Rasyid and designed by the Dutch architect Dingemans, which is only 200 meters apart from the Maimoon Palace. The building is inspired with a Moorish concept of architecture. Besides the Great Medan mosque, another mosque built for Deli sultanate legacy is the Labuhan Mosque, which was built in 1886. The Labuhan Mosque also boasts unique Indian style of architecture with its octagon dome. It is situated in the Medan- Belawan highway north, from the Medan city center.
You can find Masjid Raya in the heart of Sisingamangaraja Road. While it was more than 100 years, the building and various mosque decorations are still well preserved and intact. This Deli Islamic Empire inheritance is still one of the pride of Medan Moslem and North Sumatra Moslems, and perhaps, one of the unique legacies of Islam in the Malay race in Sumatra and Indonesia.
The temple is never emptied of people, either just to pray or worship day or night, particularly during Ramadan. The building is open for 24 hours. The mosque has an area of 18,000 square meters and can accommodate more or less 1500 worshippers.
The Great Mosque of Al-Mashun is greatly admired for its rather unusual shape unlike the typical mosque, which is often square in general. The mosque is built in an octagonal shape with four halls, in left and right side, front and rear, which functions the mosque’s main door. Every porch is connected to another by small corridors to protect the main hall from the outside. The mosque’s interior is supported by eight main pillars with diameter of 0.60 meter tall, standing tall into the buffer of the main dome.
During the month of Ramadan, the atmosphere of the Mosque becomes livelier than the usual days. Religious activities taking place inside are non-stop, not only during daytime but late night until dawn. Amongst the activities are muzakarah activities, Ramadan lectures, conversation on the Sya’ri Law of Islam and other different activities involving Islamic studies. Evening activities include Qur’an Tadarrus and Tarawih prayers late at night until the dawn comes. The board prepares meals every evening, using materials from the community and general donations around the mosque. Food is prepared for 300 to 500 people, particularly for orphans, homeless and visitors from far areas.
When visiting the Great Mosque, women should be dressed appropriately, with the legs and hair covered. However, if you are not equipped for this, you can rent sarongs and headscarves for Rp 5000 per person. Even men wearing shorts must wear sarongs.