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Built in the heart of the capital, Istiqlal Mosque can accommodate up to 120,000 people, making it Southeast Asia’s biggest mosque. It is located right in front of the Jakarta Cathedral, a Catholic Church. The two buildings were deliberately built close to one another to symbolize harmony.
Friedrich Silaban, a Christian, designed the mosque after winning the design contest for the mosque in 1955, in which President Sukarno was one of the jury members. Construction started in 1961 and the Mosque was opened to the public on Feb. 22, 1978. It was built to commemorate Indonesian independence. The name “Istiqlal” is the Arabic word for independence.
You can also watch the “Mosques of Southeast Asia” video project series by the Star Media Group and members of the Asia News Network: The Straits Times in Singapore, The Brunei Times, The Jakarta Post, and The Nation.