From the window of my guesthouse in Chinatown, one of the first things I noticed was a building off in the distance with a huge, blue, star shaped roof. I had no idea what it was until I opened up my map of Kuala Lumpur and my Lonely Planet guide. That interesting building that I could see in the distance is the National Mosque of Malaysia – Masjid Negara. I had to go check it out.
The mosque is set on a huge plot of land and surrounded by beautiful gardens, located just outside of Chinatown opposite the old railway station. Completed in 1965, it is certainly a modern mosque, and its design symbolizes Malaysia’s independence, which it received only a few years beforehand.
Dressed in our provided purple robes, we entered Masjid Negara outside of the prayer times to explore this huge place of worship. Tiles, columns, pools and fountains make up most of the building, and its 75 metre tall minaret dominates wherever there is a view above.
Most impressive of all is the huge prayer hall situated underneath the star shaped dome, with its beautiful windows and chandeliers and verses of the Koran on its walls. It was empty at the time, but the mosque can accommodate up to 15,000 worshipers. I can only imagine what that must look like.
From within the mosque itself there are also some great panoramic views to be had of Kuala Lumpur, the surrounding city spreading out to the horizon.
As a foreigner, you can only visit Masjid Negara outside of the main prayer times. 9am-12pm, 3-4pm and 5:30-6:30pm. It is definitely worth taking the time to visit.