History of the Great Mosque of Demak, a Gathering Place for Ulama

As one of the the oldest mosque in Java Island, The Great Mosque of Demak always has an interesting side that never gets tired of discussing it. Thick with historical value and interesting architecture, this mosque is also known as one of the most famous religious tourism.

Not only lined up as one of the most important heritage of the land of Java, in fact there are many other interesting things that can be discussed further. Anything? Let’s see the full review of Advontura next time

History of the Great Mosque of Demak

The mosque, which is located in Kauman Village, Bintoro Village, Demak, Central Java, right on the main square and center of the crowd, was founded by Raden Patah in the 15th century, to be precise, on the 1st of Shafar in 1401 Saka.

History of the Demak Mosque believed to originate from the desire to purify the surrounding area from the remnants of Hindu-Buddhist influence from the Majapahit Kingdom. This can be seen from its strong architecture of Hindu nuances with modifications of Islamic nuances.

In fact, according to historical records, the Great Mosque of Demak is believed to be a gathering place for the clergy and wali songo who spread Islam in the archipelago. Therefore, until now Demak is known as one of the initial locations where Islam grew in Java.

Long before the history of the Demak Mosque began, it turned out that Sunan Ampel had made the area around it a center for teaching Islam. Furthermore, the Demak Mosque developed into the center of Islamic civilization and a symbol of the power of Islamic kings on the island of Java thanks to the hands Sunan Kalidjaga.

Architecture of the Great Mosque of Demak

The architecture of the Great Mosque of Demak
Great Mosque of Demak (Photo by indonesiakaya.com)

At first glance, the architectural style of the Great Mosque of Demak does look like a place of worship for Hindus. Not only that, if you pay attention, there are many symbols and meanings that are full of historical value in various architectural details of the Demak Mosque.

The iconic shape of the roof is believed to be a form of mosque acculturation and tolerance for Hindus. The pyramid-shaped roof of the mosque arranged in three steps depicts Faith, Islam and Ihsan as the Islamic creed.

The architecture of the Demak Mosque also has a unique symbol, namely the bulus, or soft-backed turtle. This can be seen from the existence of various ornaments depicting bulus along the walls of the mosque.

Bulus himself describes the year the mosque was founded, namely 1401 Saka. The turtle head means 1, the four turtle legs mean 4, the rounded shape of the turtle body means 0, and the turtle tail means 1.

Before being put in a museum, the unique architecture of the Demak Mosque was also shown through the Bledeg Door. The door made by Ki Ageng Selo is filled with many beautiful carvings depicting two dragon heads made of teak wood and used as lightning protection.

The image of the two dragon heads on the door comes from the Condro Sengkolo inscription, meaning a time marker that reads “Nogo Mulat Saliro Wani”. This expression implies the year 1388 Saka, or 887 Hijriah, or 1466 AD.

In the picture of the Great Mosque of Demak long ago, it must be seen that there are four saka tatal or saka guru which are the main pillars of this mosque. These four saka are made from bundles of wood chips each made by Sunan Bonang, Sunan Ampel, Sunan Kalijaga, and Sunan Gunun Jati which are now in museums

On the terrace, the architecture of the Demak Mosque looks solid with the support of eight saka or pillars. These eight pillars were later called Saka Majapahit. Demak’s attitude of resistance and courage against Majapahit at that time was also shown in this mosque through its pointed mustaka.

Also read: Istiqlal Mosque Jakarta: Privileges, Location, and History

Buildings Around the Demak Mosque

Great Mosque of Demak
History of the Great Mosque of Demak (Photo by qoobah.co.id)

Apart from the main building, there are several buildings that are also commonly visited by tourists when visiting the Demak Mosque. Here are some of them.

Sultanate of Demak Tomb

Apart from being rich in history, the Demak Mosque is apparently also located close to the tomb complex of the Demak Sultanate. Therefore, tourists can simultaneously make a pilgrimage to the tomb after worshiping at this mosque. Usually, the majority of visitors who come are joined in a Wali Songo pilgrimage group.

Ablution Pool Site

The 10×25 meter pool located at the front side of the mosque is believed to have been a place for ablutions for the clerics and Wali Songo long ago. There are three stones of different sizes that Advontura friends will see when visiting this ablution pool.

Wali Songo Heritage Museum

There is one more place that is usually visited by travelers when traveling to this mosque. Located right next to the mosque, the Wali Songo heritage museum also contains various heirlooms throughout the history of the Great Mosque of Demak.

Apart from the main collection of Wali Songo relics such as saka tatal, shingles, drum, and kentongan, this museum also houses mock-ups of the mosque from 1845-1864 AD, handwritten Al-Qur’an, bledeg doors, wooden inscriptions numbered 1344 Saka, as well as drawings The Great Mosque of Demak in the past, and so on.

Those are some interesting facts about the history, architecture, and pictures of the Great Mosque of Demak. It is now five centuries old and protected law as a cultural heritage. Hopefully this review is useful for Advontura friends who are interested in visiting!

Also read: Palembang Grand Mosque – History, Address and Hotel