Kuala Lumpur’s most beautiful downtown mosque
Published/Last edited or updated: 10th December, 2017
Set at the confluence of the Klang and Gombak rivers, Jamek Mosque is the oldest mosque in Kuala Lumpur and if you have time for just the one mosque during your visit, this should be it.
Designed by A B Hubback (the same Brit responsible for many of the grandiose colonial buildings around Merdeka Square) and built between 1908 and 1909, Jamek Mosque (official name Sultan Abdul Samad Jamek Mosque, though colloquially the mosque is known as “Friday Mosque”) was built upon the site of a cemetery at the confluence of the two rivers.
Despite the successful beautification of the river area around here, today, with the rivers’ concrete walls, the mosque still feels like it is at the meeting point of two stormwater drains rather than two rivers—though the fountains and misting do help a lot though, as does the lovely shade trees on the far bank of the Gombak River. It must have been quite a different setting before the rivers were all hemmed in by the surrounding urban concrete.
As with Hubback’s other efforts over in Merdeka Square, the architecture took an evocative Mughal influenced approach and, with the mosques two tall minarets and the swaying palms, you can feel a world away from the city that surrounds you here. Aside from the two tall minarets, the mosque has three garlic-shaped domes and two smaller decorative minarets by the entrance. Within (shoes off please!) enjoy the cool tile under foot and do take a look inside the beautifully understated prayer chamber, as here (unlike at the National Mosque) non-Muslims are allowed to enter the inner chamber.
Large portions of the grounds are cordoned off for non-Muslims, and we were disappointed not to be able to get closer to the confluence nor to what looked to be a very attractive fountain and garden at the rear, but there is still plenty enough to explore to warrant a visit. Friendly staff are on hand to deliver complimentary short guided tours on request, and they’ll happily hand you a small bottle of water as you leave.
As with other mosques, respectful attire is required. Red gowns are available—free of charge—for those who forget to dress appropriately. The mosque is open to non-Muslims outside of prayer times, but it is closed to non-worshippers all day on Friday.
The closest LRT station is Masjid Jamek, which is right put front and from here it is just a five minute walk to Merdeka Square.
Stuart McDonald co-founded Travelfish.org with Samantha Brown in 2004. He has lived in Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia, where he worked as an under-paid, under-skilled language teacher, an embassy staffer, a newspaper web-site developer, freelancing and various other stuff. His favourite read is The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.
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