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Jakarta Post

Grand renovation of Southeast Asia’s largest mosque

Mon, May 25, 2020   /   07:29 pm
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    A pedestrian takes a rest outside Istiqlal Mosque in Pasar Baru, Central Jakarta. The mosque has been closed to the public since the coronavirus pandemic hit Jakarta. JP/Sutrisno Jambul

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    A worker installs a construction platform inside Istiqlal Mosque. JP/Sutrisno Jambul

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    A view of Jakarta Cathedral from Istiqlal Mosque. The ongoing renovation project includes the construction of an underground tunnel that connects the two iconic places of worship. JP/Sutrisno Jambul

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    The renovation was expected to be completed before Ramadan in April 2020. However, the project went beyond the deadline due to the pandemic. JP/Sutrisno Jambul

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    Istiqlal Mosque has been closed to the public since April 3, in line with Jakarta’s large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) policy. JP/Sutrisno Jambul

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    State-owned construction company PT Waskita Karya says it has completed 89 percent of the mosque’s revamp as of May 2020. JP/Sutrisno Jambul

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    Construction workers have hung up their clothes near the mosque’s windows. JP/Sutrisno Jambul

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    Construction workers take a nap on rolled carpets inside Istiqlal Mosque after completing their shift. The workers stay in the mosque throughout the Idul Fitri holiday due to the government’s restrictions on homebound travel. JP/Sutrisno Jambul

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    A sign shows that only employees are allowed to enter the mosque’s premises. JP/Sutrisno Jambul

Sutrisno Jambul

For the first time in its 41 years of history, Istiqlal Grand Mosque in Central Jakarta undergoes a major overhaul.

The 80,948-square meter building can hold 200,000 people, making it the largest mosque in Southeast Asia.

The Public Works and Housing Ministry has allocated Rp 465.3 billion (US$31.6 million) to refurbish the existing building and to construct an amphitheater and new green space.

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo also said that the project would include the construction of an underground tunnel that connects the mosque with the adjacent Jakarta Cathedral.

The renovation blueprint was drawn by architect Munichy Bachron Edrees, the great-grandson of Ahmad Dahlan, founder of the Muslim organization Muhammadiyah.

The renovation was initially expected to run from May 2019 until Ramadan in April 2020. The project, however, failed to meet the deadline due to the coronavirus pandemic. The ministry has set up a new target of finishing Istiqlal’s renovation in June.

More than just a place of worship, the mosque has become a symbol of religious tolerance in Indonesia. Istiqlal was designed by Christian architect Frederich Silaban and is located next to the Jakarta Cathedral. The mosque was constructed beginning in 1961 and opened its doors to the public in 1978. [yps]