The Kampung Hulu Mosque (GPS: 2.19929, 102.24759) in Malacca holds the distinction of being the oldest functioning mosque in Malaysia to still be located at its original site. It is located at the corner of Jalan Masjid Kampung Hulu and Jalan Masjid.
Kampung Hulu Mosque was built in 1728 following the relaxation of the freedom of worship. Tranquerah Mosque was also built in the same year, but was rebuilt in 1780. When the Portuguese conquered Malacca in 1511, they abolished the freedom of worship, tearing down all non-Catholic religious structures including a mosque that stood across from presently Stadthuys. When the Portuguese were forcefully expelled by the Dutch in the five-month siege in 1640-41, the Catholic faith that had come with the Portuguese was forbidden in favor of the Protestant Dutch Reformed Church.
Freedom of worship was only proclaimed in 1702, and this led to the construction of St Peter's Church in 1710, the first permanent Roman Catholic church to be built after the Dutch conquest. St Francis Xavier's Church came a century later, on the site of an old Portuguese church.
In the case of Kampung Hulu Mosque, the Dutch appointed a headman, or "Kapitan" to lead the local Muslim community. The mosque was built by Dato Samsuddin bin Arom and was later renovated by Wazir Al Sheikh Omar bin Hussain Al-Attas. Kampung Hulu mosque is built in the style of a Javanese mosque. The roof comprises three ascending layers of pyramidal roofs. The gaps in between allows some air and light to enter the structure. Four big columns hold the roof up at the middle portion, while smaller columns hold the outer part of the roof. The mosque is square except for a small porch area at the front part. Unlike true Javanese mosques, the Kampung Hulu mosque was not constructed of timber but of bricks.
Just like the other mosques in Malacca, including the Kampung Kling Mosque and the Tranquerah Mosque, the Kampung Hulu Mosque also incorporates Chinese ornamentation important from Qing Dynasty China. This can be seen in the roof ornaments and floor tiles.
Masjid Kampung Hulu, Melaka (30 December, 2006)
Kampung Hulu Mosque, ArchNet Digital Library
The Mosque: History, Architectural Development and Regional Diversity - Ed. Martin Frishman and Hasan-Uddin Khan, 1994.
A History of Malaysian Architecture - Vlatseas, S., Longman Singapore Publishers
The Encyclopedia of Malaysia, Volume 5: Architecture - Chen Voon Fee, Archipelago Press
Kampung Hulu Mosque, Oriental Architecture - www.orientalarchitecture.com
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