Kampung Kling’s Mosque


Kampung Kling Mosque (Masjid Kampung Kling) is located at Jalan Tukang Emas (also known as Harmony Street). Jalan Tukang Emas, Jalan Tukang Besi, Jalan Tokong are collectively known as Harmony Street. These streets are called Harmony Street because it portrays a sense of harmony between the major races in Malaysia and temples of different religions are able to locate in close proximity with each other. The temples here are the Kampung Kling’s Mosque, the Cheng Hoon Teng Temple and the Sri Poyyatha Vinayagar Moorthi Temple. At the time when the Kampung Kling Mosque was erected, the neighborhood of Kampong Kling, which runs along the coast to the west of the Malacca River, was primarily inhabited by South Indians or ‘Klings’. Built by Indian Muslim traders in the year 1748 during the Dutch colonial era, the Kampong Kling Mosque is one of the oldest mosques in Malaysia which still retains its original design.
The multiple architectural styles seen in this mosque attest to the synchratic building tradition that flourished in Malacca, once a major trading port in the fourteenth to the eighteenth centuries due to its strategic geographical location. The architectural design of the mosque combines many influences from the Sumatran, the Chinese, the Hindu, the local Malay community and the European influences. Rather than the rectangular or hexagonal built up plan of most Middle Eastern mosques, Kampung Kling Mosque is built on a square plan like most Southeast Asian mosques. Corinthian columns with symmetrical arches in the main prayer hall separate the minbar space from the central prayer hall within the mosque.
The commanding minaret, likened to a Chinese pagoda or stupa form, has become characteristic in Malacca’s building. Minarets are not traditional Malay or Islamic architecture, though they have become increasingly more prevalent and are useful in demarcating the mosque in dense urban areas. Chinese ceramic tiles were imported to adorn the roof, the floor and the lower walls of the mosque. Furthermore, there are decorative motifs on the doors and windows and also the rooftop ornament, or mastaka. The mosque also has a blend of English and Portuguese glazed tiles. A courtyard behind Kampung Kling Mosque contains a fountain-like pool for ablutions and covered circumambulation walkway. You can see Moorish cast iron lamp-posts in the place of ablution. In 1868 the mosque and its minaret were enclosed by a high wall to protect it from the street. The Department of Museums and Antiquities completed conservation works on the mosque in the 1990′s. Kampung Kling Mosque should not be confused with Kampung Hulu Mosque, located just a few blocks away.