Photo: No other mosque quite like it.

Menara Mosque (Al-Manar Mosque)

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The northern part of Central Java is known at the cradle of Javanese Islam, Jepara, Kudus and Demak were powerful and prominent centres in the 15th and 16th centuries and it is said that nine Islamic saints, known as the wali songo, spread the new faith from theses parts.

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The name Kudus is derived from the Arabic, “Al Quds” or “holy city”, and the town’s mosque is one of the most fascinating in all of Java—well worth a detour to visit. The new Islamic beliefs blended with the exiting Hindu-Buddhist traditions, and are particularly visible in the Menara Mosque dating from 1549.

Some sections feel like they belong in Bali. Photo taken in or around Menara Mosque (Al-Manar Mosque), Jepara, Indonesia by Sally Arnold.

Some sections feel like they belong in Bali. Photo: Sally Arnold

The remarkable red-brick minaret, candi bentar (split gate) and candi agung (main gate) within the dome are distinctly Hindu, which leads one to believe that the mosque may have being built on the site of an older Hindu temple. The minaret harbours a large skinned drum (bedug) used for the call to prayer as well as a split wooden drums and a clock, and is decorated with Vietnamese ceramics (indicating connections with the Majapahit kingdom who had ties with the Cham of Vietnam) and resembles a kul-kul tower found in ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 400 words.)

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Where to next?

Where are you planning on heading to after Jepara? Here are some spots commonly visited from here, or click here to see a full destination list for Indonesia.

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