Monday, February 18, 2008

PENGENALAN / INTRODUCTION


BLOG INI DITUJUKAN UNTUK SELURUH RAKYAT MALAYSIA.





INTRODUCTION

The proposal to build park in Terengganu depicting the glorious Islamic Civilization was the brain-child of the Right Honourable Prime Minister of Malaysia Dato' Seri Abdullah Haji Ahmad Badawi. The Task has been given to the Terengganu State Economic Development Corporation(TSEDC) to interpret the vision of the Right Honourable PM on a 22.3ha of land in Pilau Wan MAn,Kuala Terengganu,The Park will Bring the theme of 'Edutainment Park' together with a reality visualisation of Islamic monuments in miniature form,Interactive activities are designed for visitors to learn more of the miniature historical significants.

OBJECTIVE

TO EXPOSE THE GLORIOUS ISLAMIC ARCHITECTURE.
TO EXPERIENCE AND INCULCATE THE ISLAMIC CULTURE AND WAY OF LIFE.
TO PROMOTE PULAU WAN MAN AS AN INTELECTUAL CENTER OF ISLAMIC ART AND CIVILIZATION.
RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT CENTRE OF ISLAMIC INTELECTUAL WORKS. e.g IBN SINA(MEDICINE),AL-KHAWARIZMI(MATH),AL-BIRUNI(ASTRONOMY)&HASSAN FATHY(ARCHITECTURE)

NATIONAL MOSQUE, MALAYSIA



Bangunan Masjid Negara telah dibina pada tahun 1965 bagi memperingati perjuangan dan jasa-jasa Perdana Menteri Malaysia yang pertama iaitu YAB Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj dalam memerdekakan Tanah Melayu daripada jajahan British. Bangunan yang dibina selepas merdeka ini mempunyai ciri-ciri yang menunjukkan kemajuan dan kebebasan. Ciri-ciri ini ditonjolkan melalui rekabentuk dan bahan-bahan binaan yang digunakan. Ciri-ciri yang menarik pada masjid ini adalah kubah yang diperbuat dari konkrit berbentuk payung terbuka dan menara yang berbentuk payung tertutup. Payung merupakan simbolik perlindungan dan kebebasan. Masjid ini boleh memuatkan 15000 jemaah

The National Mosque is located in Kuala Lumpur. It
has a capacity of 15 000 ‘jemaah’ and situated among 13 acres of beautiful gardens. It was built in 1965. The main characteristics of the design is the dome and the minaret which were designed umbrella-like. The dome is reminiscent of an open umbrella and minaret’s cap a folded umbrella. The Heroes Mousoleum (Makam Pahlawan) is situated nearby. National heroes, mainly the independence fighters - are buried here.

KUDUS MINAR, INDONESIA



Masjid ini dibina pada tahun 1549 Masihi oleh seorang guru terkenal bernama Sunan Kudus. Ia terletak di daerah Kudus, Wilayah Semerang, Jawa Tengah, Indonesia. Rekabentuk bercirikan campuran antara Hindu dan Jawa. Ciri-ciri menarik masjid ini ialah pada menara yang diperbuat dari batu-batu gunung berapi. Menara ini berbentuk seperti candi yang biasanya terdapat di kawasan kuil hindu.
Kudus Minar Mosque was built in 1549 by a famous Muslim guru Sunan Kudus. It is located in Kudus District, Semerang Region, Central Java, Indonesia. The architectural design is a mixed of Hindu and Java with the minaret as the most outstanding feature made from rocks! The characteristic of the minaret is influenced by Hindu temple

PATTANI MOSQUE, THAILAND



Masjid ini dibina pada tahun 1954 Masihi semasa pemerintahan Field Marshal Sarit dan mengambil masa sembilan tahun untuk disiapkan. Ia terletak di Wilayah Muang di Pattani berhampiran jalan utama antara Yarang dan Pattani. Masjid ini merupakan masjid terbesar dan tercantik di Thailand dan menjadi pusat utama kepada penduduk Islam di Thailand.

This mosque was built in 1954 during the military rule of Field Marshal Sarit. It took the military government 9 years to complete the construction. It is situated in Muang Region, Pattani by the main road of Yarang and Pattani. It is the biggest and most beautiful mosque in Thailand and the main centre for muslims in Thailand.

SULTAN OMAR ALI MOSQUE, BRUNEI



Masjid ini dibina pada tahun 1958 Masihi berhampiran Sungai Brunei. Ia telah dinamakan bersempena nama Sultan Brunei yang ke-28. Masjid ini dibina mengunakan bahan-bahan binaan terbaik di dunia seperti marmar dari Itali, granit dari China dan lampu hiasan dan cermin bercorak dari England. Kubah utamanya pula dipercayai diperbuat daripada emas tulen. Ia menjadikan masjid ini antara masjid tercantik di dunia.


The mosque was built in 1958 A.D near Brunei River. It was named after the 28th Sultan of Brunei. The best building materials were used e.g marble from Italy, granite from China and chandeliers and glasses from England. It is one of the most beautiful mosque in the world

TAJ MAHAL, AGRA, INDIA



Taj Mahal adalah sebuah istana dan makam yang dibina bagi mengenang kisah cinta abadi diantara Shah Jahan dan isterinya Mumtaz Mahal. Ia mula dibina pada tahun 1631 Masihi dan mengambil masa 22 tahun untuk disiapkan. Ciri-ciri penting yang dapat dilihat disini ialah keunikan senibina, bahan-bahan binaan yang unik, batu-batu berharga yang dipasang untuk mencantikkan kemasannya serta keindahan taman yang dibina dihadapan bangunan tersebut.

The ‘Taj Mahal’ is a mausoleum built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife, Mumtaz Mahal, in 1631 illustrating his love to his wife. The main mausoleum completed in 1648 and the surrounding buildings and garden in 1653. The ‘Taj Mahal’ incorporates Persian and earlier Mughal architecture. Shah Jahan promoted the use of white marble inlaid with semi precious stones. The garden of Taj Mahal is considered as the Garden Of The World due to splendid and beautiful landscape.

BADSHAHI MOSQUE, LAHORE, PAKISTAN



Masjid Badshahi dibina pada tahun 1673 Masihi oleh Maharaja Aurangzeb Alamgir semasa zaman kegemilangan kerajaan Mongol. Ciri-ciri utama yang membentuk masjid ini ialah pintu masuk yang dibina mengikut cara Mongol, minaret bersegi lapan dan laman dalaman yang luas. Masjid ini merupakan yang terbesar pada zaman tersebut. Mengikut sejarahnya ia boleh memuatkan sehingga 65 000 jemaah.

Badshahi mosque (Emperor Mosque)was built in 1673 A.D by Emperor Aurangzeb Alamgir in Lahore, Pakistan during the Mughal period. The interior has rich embellishment in stucco tracery (Manbatkari) and panelling with a fresco touch, all in bold relief, as well as marble relay. The exterior is decorated with stone carving as well as marble inlay on red sandstone. The mosque can accommodate up to 65 000 worshippers at one time.

DOME OF THE ROCK, PALASTIEN



Bangunan Kubah As-Sakhrah, Palestin dibina pada tahun 692 Masihi di kawasan Haram Al-Sharif bagi melindungi batu terapung yang menjadi tempat Nabi Muhammad SAW berpijak sebelum Mikraj ke langit. Ciri-ciri penting yang dapat dilihat pada bangunan ini adalah replika batu tergantung itu sendiri serta kesenian kerja-kerja jubin dan kaligrafi dari Surah Yaasin dan Surah Al Israq

Dome of the Rock, Palestine was built in 602 A.D in Haram Al-Sharif. The main characteristics of the building is the replica of the floating rock , the calligraphy writings from Surah Yaasin and Surah Al-Israq and also the arrangements of the tiles.

LUTFALLAH MOSQUE, ISFAHAN, IRAN



Masjid Lutfallah mula dibina pada tahun 1602 Masihi semasa pemerintahan Dinasti Safavid. Nama masjid ini diambil sempena nama seorang tokoh agama terkenal pada zaman itu iaitu Sheikh Lutfallah Maisi Al-Amili. Keistimewaan masjid ini adalah penggunaan jubin biru yang memenuhi kawasan pintu masuk ke masjid. Ini menjadikan ianya contoh terbaik senibina Islam.

This mosque was built in 1602 A.D during Safavid Dynasty. The
name was taken from a famous Muslim scholar Sheikh Lutfallah
Maisi Al-Amili. The significant characteristic of this mosque is the blue marble at the entrance of the mosque. This is the best example of muslim architectural.

ABU NASR PARSA, AFGHANISTAN



Makam Abu Nasr yang terletak di tengah- tengah Balkh Central Park ini telah dibina bagi mengabadikan jasa-jasa ketua dan tokoh agama terkenal di Herat, Afghanistan iaitu Khwaja Abu Nasr Parsa. Ciri-ciri menarik pada makam ini adalah dua tiang berpusing di hadapannya serta dinding, kubah, menara dan kaligrafi yang dibuat daripada mozek biru. Ciri-ciri ini memberi gambaran kepada generasi bahawa kerja-kerja yang unik dan bernilai ini telah berjaya dihasilkan oleh orang Islam di zaman lampau.

Khwaja Abu Nasr sits in the middle of Balkh Central Park. It was built to commemorate the good deeds of chief and Islam guru Khwaja Abu Nasr Pasra of Herat, Afghanistan. The main characteristics of the mausoleum are the two spiralling towers, and the blue
Mosaic walls, dome, minaret and Calligraphy.

MASJIDIL HARAM, MECCA, SAUDI




Sebagaimana yang diketahui ramai sejarah Masjidil Haram terutamanya Kaabah bermula dari zaman Nabi Ibrahim AS lagi. Walaubagaimanapun pembinaan bangunan masjid itu sendiri hanya bermula pada zaman Khalifah Omar Al Khattab RA iaitu sekitar tahun 639 Masihi. Sebahagian besar bangunan asal masjid dibuat mengunakan batu biru yang boleh didapati di bukit-bukit di sekeliling Lembah Hijaz. Sejak dari zaman tersebut bangunan masjid telah ditambah sedikit demi sedikit sehingga bentuknya yang dapat kita lihat pada hari ini.

The history of Masjidil Haram goes to the time of Abraham AS.
But the main building only exist during Caliph Omar Al-Khattab
RA somewhere in 639 A.D. Most of the structure of the building were made from the the blue rock taken from the surrounding Hijaaz Valley. The building has gone through numerous renovations and rebuilding until it is what can be seen now.

ALEPPO CITADEL, SYRIA



Kota Aleppo adalah sebuah kota yang telah dibina oleh umat Islam dahulu di atas sebuah bukit di Syria. Penemuan yang telah dibuat di kawasan kota ini membuktikan bahawa kawasan ini telah digunakan pada kurun ke-10 sebelum Masihi. Kota ini membuktikan kecanggihan teknologi umat Islam lampau yang berjaya membina kota yang sebegitu kukuh dan indah di atas sebuah bukit.

The Aleppo Citadel is a fortress built by muslims on a hill in Syria which goes back to the 10th century B.C. Mosque of Abraham was built here too. It became a citadel under the Seleucids.

MOHAMMAD ALI MOSQUE, CAIRO, EGYPT



Masjid Mohammad Ali terletak di Wilayah Al-Qalaa di Kaherah, Mesir. Ia direkabentuk oleh arkitek Greek bernama Yussuf Bushnaq. Rekabentuknya berdasarkan ciri-ciri yang terdapat pada Masjid Sultan Ahmad (Blue Mosque) di Turki. Ia mula dibina pada tahun 1246 Masihi dan siap pada tahun 1265 Masihi. Ia dinamakan bersempena nama pemerintah yang memerintah Mesir selama 45 tahun.
Mohammad Ali Mosque is situated in Al-Qalan Region in Kaherah, Egypt. It was designed by a Greece architect named Yussuf Bushnaq. The design was based on Sultan Ahmad Mosque (The Blue Mosque) in Turkey. It was built in 1246 A.D and completed in1265 A.D. It was named after the Egypt King who govern Egypt for 45 years.

PROPHET MOSQUE, MEDINA



Sebagaimana diketahui umum Masjid Nabawi dibina di atas tapak rumah Nabi Muhammad SAW yang pertama selepas berhijrah ke Madinah. Ia merupakan masjid yang pertama dibina selepas penghijrahan. Dalam masa yang singkat kawasan masjid dan sekitarnya menjadi pusat pemerintahan dan perniagaan bagi Madinah dan dunia Islam keseluruhannya

The mosque of Prophet Muhammad SAW is the second holiest mosque in Islam. It was built on the original site of Prophet Muhammad’s house. In a brief time the mosque served as the administrative and commercial center.

SULEYMAN MOSQUE, TURKEY



Masjid ini direkabentuk berdasarkan ciri-ciri yang terdapat pada Masjid Sultan Ahmad (Blue Mosque) di Turki. Ia juga direkabentuk oleh arkitek yang sama iaitu Sinan, Arkitek Agung di zaman pemerintahan Khalifah Othmaniah. Masjid ini dinamakan sedemikian berdasarkan nama Sultan Suleyman yang memerintah Turki dari tahun 1520 Masihi hingga 1566 Masihi

The mosque was built with Blue Mosque characteristics. It was designed by the same architect, Sunan the Great Architect during Caliph Othmaniah time. The name was given in recognition to the Emperor Sultan Suleyman, the King of Turkey from 1520 A.D to 1566 A.D.

QAIRAWAN MOSQUE, TUNISIA



Masjid ini dibina oleh Uqba bin Nafi pada tahun 670 Masihi. Ia merupakan pusat Islam tertua di Tunisia. Bentuk dan saiz masjid ini menekankan ciri-ciri persaudaraan dan keikhlasan. Di dalam masjid yang sebegini besar semua aktiviti dan permasalahan dapat diselesaikan termasuk pemerintahan, pembelajaran dan ketenteraan.

The Qairawan Mosque was built by Uqba bin Nafi in 760 A.D. It is
the oldest Islamic center in Tunisia. The size and design of the mosque are aligned to comradeship and integrity. Problem solvings and other activities were done in this mosque including administrative and governmental issues such as education and defense.

ALHAMBRA, GRANADA, SPAIN



Kota Al Hambra adalah sebuah kubu dan istana kesultanan Moorish di Granada. Ia bermula dengan sebuah masjid yang dibina semasa pemerintahan awal Islam di Sepanyol. Di antara tahun 1238-1354 Masihi, istana kerajaan Islam Sepanyol dibina di kota ini. Dengan terbinanya istana inilah menjadikan Al Hambra terkenal sehingga hari ini. Terdapat empat pintu masuk utama ke kota ini dan terdapat beberapa dewan besar di dalam keseluruhan kota. Dinding-dinding dalaman dipenuhi ‘stucco calligraphy’ kalimah-kalimah memuji Illahi. Terdapat juga taman-taman indah yang dihiasi ciri-ciri alam semulajadi seperti pokok, air dan haiwan. Replika yang dibina di Taman Tamadun Islam ini adalah sebahagian dari Kota Al Hambra yang luas keseluruhannya terlalu besar untuk dibina di sini.

Al Hambra Citadel is a city-fotress and the castle of Moorish Kingdom in Granada. It was built as a mosque in early Islamic rules in Spain. Between 1238-1354 A.D, the castle of Islamic Kingdom was built in this city. Since then Al-Hambra city is one of the famous historic building in the world. The interior walls of the building were decorated with fascinating stucco calligraphy of Holy Quran and there were also beautiful gardens in the city.

KALYAN MINARET , UZBEKISTAN



Menara ini dibina oleh Arslan Khan pada tahun 1127 Masihi. Ia dibina dua kali kerana menara pertama telah runtuh akibat kerja-kerja tapak yang tidak sempurna. Menara ini merupakan contoh struktur dan binaan terbaik pada zaman tersebut. Menara ini telah digunakan sebagai rumah api dan menara peninjau untuk mengelakkan serangan musuh.

Kalyan Minaret was built by Arslan Khan in 1127 A.D. It was built twice because the original tower fell down due to shoddy works! The tower is an example of the best construction and structural work of the time. The tower was used as lighthouse and reconnaisance tower.

AGADEZ MOSQUE, NIGER



Masjid ini terletak di daerah Air Massif di tengahtengah Negara Niger. Ia dibina dalam kurun ke-16 semasa zaman Agadez. Dari segi bahan binaan masjid ini agak unik kerana diperbuat dari kayu dan lumpur, sebagaimana bangunan tradisional di Benua Afrika. Bahan binaan ini masih kekal sehingga kini. Kalau bukan kerana kebijaksanaan masyarakat lampau yang telah memikirkan cara bagaimana ia perlu diselenggara, masjid ini mungkin telah runtuh atau tidak boleh digunakan lagi. Perancah kayu yang dipasang di keliling menara membolehkan ianya diselenggara apabila perlu. Cara itu masih digunakan sehingga kini.

This mosque is located in Air Massif District Mid Niger. It was built in th 16th century during the Agadez period. The mosque was built from wood and sluth as all traditional buildings in Centre Africa.

KUL SHARIF MOSQUE,KAZAN,RUSSIA




Masjid ini dibina bagi mengenang jasa dan perjuangan seorang guru serta muridnya yang gigih mempertahankan diri dari serangan Ivan ‘The Terrible’. Walaupun telah berusaha mempertahankan diri mereka, Guru Kul Sharif dan kesemua anak muridnya telah dibunuh oleh Ivan ‘The Terrible’. Masjid ini dibina pada tahun 1996 setelah jatuh Empayar Soviet.

The erection of the “Kul-Sharif” Mosque according to the project of the group of architects of the firm “Tatinvest-grazhdanproyect” (A.V. Golovin, A.I. Ishakov, I.F. Saifullin, A.C. Sattarov, M.V.Safronov, S.P. Shakurov) started in 1996. The contest for the developing of the project, which was held by the Architects’ Association preceded to the creating of its final variant. After summarizing 2 rounds, the project was developed, it combined ideas and plans of a number of contestants. The Mosque's building is located in the western part of the Kremlin. The project presupposes zoning of the Mosque's yard, taking into account the relief's fall into 2 platforms: the upper one- for religious arrangements, the lower one - for museum excursions. The complex will include 2 pavilions and ornamental pools. It belongs to the type of the central dome mosque with many minarets. The basis of its arrangement is laid on the combinatory symbol of the Moslem Community “Bismilla” in the shape of 2 squares displaced at an angle of 45 degrees and laid one on the other. According to this project, the high central volume with broken facets of the curved upper part was erected. It is surmounted by the dome on the platform of a muezzin and accentuated with 8 vertical lines (4 tall minarets and 4 pinnacles). The hall will be lit by high pointed Gothic and tulip-shaped windows. The motifs and elements of Tartar decorative art will be used in the Mosque's styling

GREAT MOSQUE SAMARRA, IRAQ



City in central Iraq with about 200,000 inhabitants (2002 estimate). Samarra lies on the east bank of the Tigris River.
Samarra is a trade centre of its region. There is some industry and small crafts, as well as local administration.
While Samarra today is a modest regional centre, it was the capital of the Muslim world for 56 years in the 9th century, when the Abbasid caliphate was moved here from Baghdad. At the most, the royal palaces and gardens stretched out for a distance of 30 km along the river.
The most prominent remains of this past is the famous Great Friday Mosque from 852 with the unique spiral minaret. This mosque itself is predominantly in ruins, with only the outer walls standing. The plan of the mosque is 240 times 160 metres, i.e. more than 38,000 m². The walls are about 10 metres high, 2.65 metres thick and supported by 44 towers. An ambitious restoration process began in the late 1990's, aiming at rebuilding the columns and eventually the roof.
The spiral minaret, "Malwiya" in Arabic, is a separate structure from the main congregation hall, 27 metres north of the main hall. It is 52 metres high, and 33 metres in diameter. It is easily entered by a staircase spiralling up on the outside of the round walls. At the summit, the staircase penetrates the structure for the first time, giving access to a flat platform on the top, about 3.5 metres wide. It is believed by many that the minaret was built about 15 years before the main structure.
About 22 km south of Samarra lies a replica of the Great Friday Mosque, the Abu Duluf Mosque. The main hall is almost as big, 215 times 138 metres, but the minaret, once again spiral is only 19 metres high.
Samarra holds the remains of the Caliph's residence. It used to be 700 metres long, along the Tigris river, but today only 3 huge gates towards the river stand. According to the stories, the Caliph sat in these gates to hear complaints and suggestions from his subjects.
Samarra holds the tomb of two imams, the 10th, Ali al-Hadi and the 11th, Hassan al-Askari. They are placed in the same sanctuary, a structure that closely resembles the ones of Karbala and Najaf. In addition to the two imams, there two other tombs of prominent female Muslims.
The second shrine of Samarra is meant to indicate where the 12th imam went into concealment. The shrine is quite different from the other Shi'i shrines of Iraq, as it doesn't have a golden dome, but one covered with blue tiles. Underneath the dome there is a cellar, said to be the last place the 12th imam dwelled.

XI'AN MOSQUE, CHINA



The Great Mosque of Xian is the largest and best preserved of the early mosques of China. Built primarily in the Ming Dynasty when Chinese architectural elements were synthesized into mosque architecture, the mosque resembles a fifteenth century Buddhist temple with its single axis lined with courtyards and pavilions.

Like the Great Mosques at Hangzhou, Quanzhou and Guangzhou, the Great Mosque of Xian is thought to have existed as early as the seventh century. The mosque that stands today, however, was begun in 1392 in the twenty-fifth year of the Ming Dynasty. It was ostensibly founded by naval admiral and hajji Cheng Ho, the son of a prestigious Muslim family and famous for clearing the China Sea of pirates. Since the fourteenth century, the mosque has undergone numerous reconstructions. Most of the buildings extant today are from the Ming and Qing Dynasties of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The mosque was constructed on Hua Jue Lane just outside the city walls built by the Ming Dynasty, in what was once the jiao-fang neighborhood for foreigners to the northwest of the city. Today, this neighborhood is part of Xian proper, with the city's famous Drum Tower a block away.


The mosque occupies a narrow lot about 48 meters by 248 meters, and the precinct walls enclose a total area of 12,000 square meters. Unlike many Chinese mosques, it has the layout of a Chinese temple: successive courtyards on a single axis with pavilions and pagodas adapted to suit Islamic function. Unlike a typical Buddhist temple, however, the grand axis of the Great Mosque of Xian is aligned from east to west, facing Mecca. Five successive courtyards, each with a signature pavilion, screen, or freestanding gateway, lead to the prayer hall located at the western end of the axis.


The first courtyard is entered via two modest side gates along the north and south precinct walls. Its eastern precinct wall is constructed of finely ground and polished brick and has a wide screen wall at its center, carved with floral patterns organized into three diamond shapes. Ornamental projections resembling wooden dougong brackets are carved into the brick under the raised eaves of the roofed screen wall. At the center of the courtyard is an imposing wooden gateway, or pailou. This nine-meter high freestanding pailou is a four columned roofed structure buttressed on all sides by wooden props, anchored into stone bases. Multiple tiers of meticulously carved dougong brackets support its blue glazed tile roof.


The rooms along the northern wall have staggered facades, with the "Unmatched Pavilion", or Yizhen Pavilion, in the center. The pavilion, used as a lecture hall, is three bays wide and has a hipped roof fronted by a central projection with wide, raised eaves, reminiscent of a bangke tower. This roof is mimicked to a lesser degree on the flanking halls, with elaborate awnings spanning over the entryways. Beautifully carved lambrequins compliment the recessed curtain wall at the back of the porch at the Unmatched Pavilion, which has a finely carved door and lattice windows. Even the steps leading up to the lecture hall were once carved with floral motifs. Sculpted dragons and flowers decorate the roof ridges and crests. Notably, figurative sculpture can only be found atop the roofs of the mosque complex and not along paths or flanking gateways, quite unlike a Buddhist temple.


In the second court, separated from the first by a shallow roofed pavilion, stands a rectilinear stone pailou built to resemble a wooden structure. It's three doorways, the central of which is higher and wider than the two flanking, each bear an inscription. Two freestanding vertical brick piers, carved with ornate floral motifs and crowned with tiled roofs with upswept eaves and dougong brackets, follow the stone pailou. These monumental piers, which are repeated again in the third courtyard, house stone tablets with Arabic inscription in their central arched niches. Reception rooms, now used as shops and residential space, flank the second court. The area to the south of this courtyard was originally designated for Hui burial, although this practice never fully developed.


Through another roofed pavilion is the third courtyard, the Qing Xiu Dian, or "Place of Meditation". Here, the commanding structure is the octagonal "Pavilion for Introspection", also known as the "Tower of the Visiting Heart" (Xing Xin Ting or Sheng Xin Lou). This brick tower is over ten meters tall with three stories separated by eaves and wrapped by wooden balconies. Unlike its predecessors, where the bangke tower (moon watching pavilion) is separate from the minaret, this Ming mosque merges the minaret and the bangke tower into the tallest structure of the complex. Its eaves are decorated with blue glazed tiles and dragon heads are carved into the ridges. Dougong brackets are seen below the raised eaves of the roof. Inside, a moveable staircase leads up to the ceiling caissons, which are carved and brightly painted with lotus flowers. The third courtyard has a series of rooms along its north and south walls. These rooms are internally divided and once hosted the library and the imam's quarters, with a narrow courtyard for ablutions. The paneled wooden partitions of these rooms are covered with painted carvings of chrysanthemums, lotus flowers and peonies.


The fourth courtyard is entered via three marble gates with wooden doors. The prayer hall, preceded by a large platform, is at the western end of the courtyard. Before this platform stands the Phoenix Pavilion or the Feng Hua Ting. Built during the Qing Dynasty, the pavilion is said to resemble a phoenix with its outstretched wings and interrupts direct view to the prayer hall. Its roofline connects three distinct pavilions, extending from the central hexagonal structure towards two pyramidal roofed gazebos. This apparently Chinese roofline conceals the wooden cupola that crowns the central space, carried on squinches, attesting to the continued use of imported Islamic elements in interior space. Lecture halls also flank this courtyard. The South Hall serves as a gallery for inscribed tablets that record the history of the mosque. Beyond the Phoenix Pavilion are two small pools, now containing fountains, set astride the central axis, followed by the stone "Cloud Gateways" of the granite "Moon Platform" preceding the prayer hall.


The prayer hall, which is the focus of this ceremonial layout, is comprised of a porch and a great hall with a projecting qibla bay. These three sections cover an area of about 1,270 square meters. They are covered by a single roof with three distinct segments, a common feature of Ming era mosques taken from Han palace architecture. The joined hipped roofs of the porch and the main hall roof have parallel north-south ridges. The hipped roof of the projecting qibla iwan is perpendicular to that of the main hall. The heights of the roofs are kept proportional to the depth of the space, following Hui tradition.


The portico, hall and iwan are differentiated by separate roofs, a common feature of early Hui mosques taken from Han palace architecture. The open portico, carried on six columns, is covered by the gentle bump of a rolled-shed roof, which dips down to join the roof of the great hall. This large hall, of equal width to the portico, sports a pitched roof raised above the others on two rows of six columns. It is curtailed at the back by the hipped roof of the qibla iwan, whose eaves are supported on twelve external columns. The rounded timber columns supporting these roofs are marvelously decorated with low relief woodwork. There is more sculptural woodwork on the lambrequins and the heavy dougong brackets. Six hundred polychrome panels with floral motifs and carved brackets decorate of the ceiling. Heavy cylindrical columns, painted deep red like the walls, divide the first two spaces into seven bays. Blue scrolls bearing Arabic calligraphy are hung from the porch columns.


The qibla bay at the western end of the prayer hall is dimly light with two skylights. The two meter tall pointed arch of the mihrab is decorated with carved arabesques and calligraphy and painted with in darker hues of red, brown than the central space. Four bands of Quranic inscriptions encircling the mihrab reveal the influence of Chinese calligraphy on Arabic lettering; one such inscription is embedded in a pool of lotuses.
Behind the prayer hall, and accessed by two circular "moon gates" on either side of the portico wall, is the fifth court with two small constructed hills used for the ceremonial viewing of the new moon.

CRYSTAL CLEAR VISION OF SUCCES



KUALA Terengganu is a place in a hurry. This must be the go-go years for Terengganu, and the state capital looks ambitious, with many things being constructed, planned and dreamed of. With the new year, it became the mouthful "Kuala Terengganu, the Historic Waterfront City".

It has been a couple of years since I was there; the recent long weekend was an opportunity to re-acquaint myself with a place that I may spend my twilight years in.

Two years is like a lifetime, it seems. There are buildings and roads never seen before, some nice and some not.

And like Malaysians elsewhere, KT folks have embraced the cool comfort of hypermarkets and their dizzying choices.

The tranquil KT I first encountered decades ago is no more, not even at night.

The long weekend saw more cars with outstation plates, and longer lines at a favoured nasi dagang stall in Chendering, while hotels, guest houses and home-stays sold out early.

Pasar Payang - the central market and major tourist destination offering East Coast specialties like batik, brass wares and keropok - was choc-a-block with dialects from far and wide.

A friend who just started work there is finding it difficult to rent a house as many owners prefer to let their properties out on daily basis to visitors, which would offer better returns.

Last Saturday, she sent me an SMS: "It's 9.50pm n there's a bad jam heading out of KT. Crazy!" I attest that there were aspects of craziness during my four-day stay. What did she expect, anyway? A sleepy hollow? Well, at times I wished that, too, but this must surely be Visit Terengganu Year 2008.

But there are some old world charms left in Kuala Terengganu: trishaws commandeered by men with mengkuang hats; penambang, which are small commuter boats that ply the route between Pasar Payang and Seberang Takir; and folk look askance at traders who fleece tourists with RM5 kites at Batu Burok beach.

The vendors at Pasar Payang leave their produce and wares covered with tarpaulin or canvas before they leave for the day; no locks or keys, only faith in humanity and in man's fear of the hereafter.

Then there is the restored Masjid Putih that was built some 200 years ago in the neighbourhood of Istana Maziah. It was recently refurbished and expanded, and the mistakes of 1970s' renovation - it was given the Apollo treatment with a rocket-looking minaret and its stained glass covered by Jabatan Kerja Raya-inspired monotony - were fixed.

It is now not only bigger to cater for a larger congregation, but has been restored to its former glory. It must be one of the most elegant mosques around.

But what is a visit to Terengganu, after the sights, beaches and keropok lekor, if not for a dose of domestic politics. This is after all a state where politics and politicking are a pre-occupation.

Perhaps because it is the only state that has seen successive changes in government. In 1999, Pas took over from Barisan Nasional, and in 2004, the latter won back the state. So residents here are the only people in the country who can attest to the differences between the two governments.

The state has caught the election fever ahead of the rest of the country. Flags and buntings of political parties are flapping by the thousands in the easterly wind; it is spectacularly gay and festive, I believe. It seems they just cannot wait for the dissolution of parliament and state assembly.

The agenda is clear for both parties.

Barisan Nasional wants to let the people know they did the right thing by voting it into power in 2004. For Pas, it is to wrest back the state and show that all the things that had happened since then may not have benefited the people.

There were, of course, many issues with claims and counterclaims on issues ranging from personalities to opportunities, the usual stuff politicians drag out as per their convenience.

But if there is something that was a constant ring this past week, it is Masjid Kristal at the Islamic Civilisation Park at Pulau Wan Man, 4km from the city centre.

The park, officiated by the king last week, is a collection of 21 Islamic-inspired architectural structures, replicated there in a miniaturised yet imposing scale. They include the Taj Mahal of India, Al-Hambra (Spain), Kaylan Tower (Uzbekistan), Samarra Mosque (Iraq), Suleyman Complex (Turkey) and Xian Mosque (China).

It looks like, with all due respect, Las Vegas minus the sin. Las Vegas, too, houses several replicas of global significance such as the Eiffel Tower, New York City skyline, the Pyramid and Venice.

As per at Teluk Wan Man on Sungai Terengganu, you could be transported to different cultures just by crossing the street.

But it is Masjid Kristal, the park's crowning glory, that is likely to be fodder in this year's election. It cost between RM200 million and RM1 billion, depending on whom you ask and what his agenda is.

It must be noted that the crystal mosque suffered from bad public relations even before it was built, when it began to be referred as Masjid Kristal. Crystal denotes luxury and grandiosity, when it could not be crystal, but glass that would serve as its walls and domes.

But that is moot now as many of us are imagining the cut and clarity of Bohemian crystals glittering in Sungai Terengganu.

Instinctively, most of us would think that it is such an ostentatious investment, excesses detached from reality. Many feel Terengganu needs many more things than a crystal mosque.

Suspending my cynicism, I believe that the crystal mosque and the Islamic Civilisation park could work, and pay off.

Just as the Kuala Lumpur City Centre, Sepang F1 racing circuit, KL International Airport, Stadium Merdeka, North-South Expressway and Penang Bridge were ridiculed and politicised, and doomed to be failure by public opinion before their construction, the park and its crystal, or glass, mosque could be a plus for Te-rengganu.

The state is no doubt a tourist destination, but tourism is hampered by the dearth of attractions.

Tourist destinations in Kuala Terengganu include Kampung China or Chinatown, Pasar Payang, Istana Maziah and the state museum. Most tourists head for the islands, and KT is just an airport stop. About 1.6 million domestic tourists visited the state in 2005, and 197,952 foreign tourists stopped by.

But the most important number is that the tourism sector's contribution to the state economy in 2005 was RM1.28 billion, compared with RM298.9 million a decade ago. Even a simple calculation would show that the project could pay off in a few years.

An interesting feature of the park is a wedding centre, so said a website, replicating an Arabian palace.

We know where the state is heading with this. Middle-Eastern tourists coming to Malaysia, and there are many of them spending lots of money, but they go east only as far as Genting Highlands. Now imagine an Islamic theme park with an opportunity for a royal wedding.

Malaysian Muslims, who are the majority in the country, and to whom the project is most politicised, may soon find the place to be an irresistible destination.

The park represents an added attraction that should add to Terengganu's tourism attendance and receipts. But there is a caveat; as much as the project could work, it could also fail.

Many residents of the state may not agree, but now that it is up and running, regardless of the outcome of the election, they must nurture, promote and guard it to make sure it lives up to what it was planned for, lest it becomes a symbol of short-sighted politicking.

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Perihal Taman Tamadun Islam.

Taman Tamadun Islam adalah sebuah Taman Tema yang memaparkan keunikan koleksi monumen-monumen hasil senibina Islam yang tersohor dari seluruh pelusuk dunia. Disamping itu ia juga dirancang dengan pelbagai kemudahan dan tarikan bagi setiap lapisan umur dengan tema utama “education dan entertainment”.

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