4 Interesting Places in Banda Aceh That Worth It To Visit

What things you are grateful for in the life?

I have many, one of them is opportunity to visit Banda Aceh. It's capital city of Aceh, the westernmost province in Indonesia.

I feel grateful because I could explore there for free. Although Banda Aceh is still in Indonesia, you have to know that the cost of going to Banda Aceh is expensive. The location is far from Jakarta. We have to save much money if we want to travel there. If not, I think it would be hard.

So, how? In the middle of 2017 there is blog competition that held by Dompet Dhuafa, one of biggest Islamic social foundation in Indonesia. I didn't want to miss the opportunity, so I join the competition. Luckily, I am chosen as one of three winners and deserved to get the prize. The prize is traveling to Aceh, especially Banda Aceh and Takengon. It became one of memorable experience for me.

I went traveling from 30th August to 3rd September 2017. I am not alone, but with Dompet Dhuafa team. They are Fuji, Ilham, Salman and Andi. We visit some interesting places when we went to Banda Aceh. At the time, I realized that there are some interesting places in Banda Aceh that worth it to visit.

1. Baiturrahman Mosque

Don't forget to come to Baiturrahman Mosque! It's the first priority when you come to Banda Aceh because it's the icon of city and the proud of Acehnese. The interesting fact you should know is Baiturrahman Mosque became one of some buildings that can survived when Tsunami attacked Aceh in 2004.
What a beautiful Baiturrahman Mosque (Noval Kurniadi)
One of outdoor angle of Baiturrahman Mosque (Noval Kurniadi)
Baiturrahman is beautiful mosuqe. It has five black domes. One main dome is in the central while the others (four domes) are on the right and left sides. There are giant with umbrellas with yellow touch around the place like umbrellas in Mecca. The function is not only to protect visitors from sun light, but also to add the beauty of exterior of the mosque.
Payung-payung di Baiturrahman (dokpri)
Langit di Masjid Baiturrahman (dokpri)
There is large outdoors in Baiturrahman area. It's good for us to do strolling or just to search fresh air. Unfortunately, at the time we can't enjoy much because the sun shone brightly.

Baiturrahman Mosque has historical value for Indonesia, especially for Acehnese. Mr. Ilham and Mr. Andi told about the journey of the mosque. "The mosque had only one dome. However, when Dutch Gouvernor lead Aceh, he add two domes on the right and left side." Mr. Andi Said. "At the past, the mosque had burnt but then it rebuilded." Mr. Ilham explained.

After going around at the yard, we decided to pray Zuhur. We did ablution nearby the gate at oustide. Then, we entered the mosque. 

It's hard to explain but I could say that I felt calm when I stepped my feet into the mosque. I don't know, but I feel peace when look at many people pray there. When I look at every sides of inside mosque, I am amazed. I realized that mosque is not only beautiful outside, but also inside!
Baiturrahman Mosque (Noval Kurniadi)
The other angle of Baiturrahman (Noval Kurniadi)
The architecture of Baiturrahman is so enchanting. In my opinion, the color combination between white, yellow, brown and black inside the mosque looked solid. The room which is quite large with the distance between the floor and the ceiling is so wide made me feel like "I'm in a palace". Some visitors captured the moment. In some corners of the mosque, there are beautiful arabic calligraphy. Meanwhile, in the priest's section there are ornament like gold door. The decoration purpotedly made from real gold. However, it's still debated.
Gold decoration in the priest's section (Noval Kurniadi)
Some people pray in Baiturrahman Mosque (Noval Kurniadi)
After praying Zuhur there, we discussed for a moment. At the time, I also charged my handphone because the battery is low. Then, we go out to the other interesting place in Banda. I didn't want to feel regret. So, before we go out to the other interesting place in Banda Aceh, I used the time to capture some moment in there.
Selfie in Baiturrahman Mosque (Noval Kurniadi)
Being narsis at Baiturrahman (dok. Fuji)
From left to the right: me - Salman - Fuji - Ilham (Fuji)

2. Aceh Museum

Aceh Museum is the next destination  during our journey in Banda Aceh. There is traditional house of Aceh in front of the museum. It's stilt house because it's raised on piles over the surface of the soil. I felt amazed because the house is fascinating and unique. Moreover, it's my first time to look real of Aceh house in the origin place.
Rumoh Aceh, traditional house of Aceh at Aceh Museum (Noval Kurniadi)
By the way, don't worry if you don't know many things about Aceh. After going out from the museum, I guaranteed that you will be smarter! If you want to get some information about Aceh, it is the right place to visit.
Maket masjid yang terpampang di Museum Aceh (dokpri)

From the mock-up of Baiturrahman Mosque at the museum, I got some new information about Baiturrahman Mosque I visited before. In fact, Baiturrahman Mosque is built since long time ago, especially since Sultanah Nurul Alam period in 16th century. At the first, the mosque had traditional ornamen with Islamic touch. Unfortunately, between 1675-1678, the mosque had caught fire. After the mosque is rebuilt, it was burnt in 1873 for second time because of battle between Acehnese and Dutch.

In 1879, Baiturrahman rebuilt by Dutch-Indies government with one dome. As time goes by, the mosque had some changes. In 1936, Gouvernor A. PH. Van Aken added two domes so the mosque had three domes.

At the past, the mosque named Masjid Raya Banda Aceh. However, since 1957, Indonesian government changed the name into Baiturrahman Mosque. Besides, the government also added two domes, bringing the total to five. Five domes is representative of pancasila. This is Baiturrahman Mosque that we know until now.

Not only about Baiturrahman mock-up, the museum also shows things that used by Acehnese at the past. But, most of them are not used in this era. Burning by curiosity, I tried to find out the information.
Geureubak, traditional transportaion of Aceh (Noval Kurniadi)
When I enjoy captured the moments, two veiled women reminded us to buy ticket especially if we want to go to upstair of the Aceh traditional house. However, we didn't do it since we were only here for a while. Because they are museum staff, Fuji and I tried to interviewed them. Luckily, they want to do it.

Two veiled women told that Aceh house is traditional house of Aceh since long time ago. The size of house for everyone is different each other, depends on economy condition. The richer someone, the bigger house he or she has.

The interesting fact you should know is there is no use of nails in the construction of Aceh house. All of material is from nature. Aceh house is made of Seumantu Wood. The roof is made of  sago palm leaves. Therefore, Aceh house is earthquake resistant. With the model of stilt house, Aceh house is also multifunctional. Besides being able to prevent the flood, the lower part of house is also can used as place to raise livestock or to protect the house owner from wild animals.
Capturing moment in Aceh Museum (Noval Kurniadi)
Actually there were many stories that told by the museum staff. However, because the time is over, we can't stay there longer. It's time for us to move to the next destination.

3. Tebing  Beach

Indonesia is known for beautiful beaches, including in Banda Aceh. One of them is Tebing Beach.

Tebing in English literally means 'cliffs'. The beach is named as 'tebing' because there are high cliffs with the houses stand around it. Mr. Ilham said that the houses are rent for tourist to stay.
Me, when in Tebing Beach (Fuji)
A breeze invade us when we entered the coastal area. From a distance, seawater seemed to merge with the sky getting darker. Don't want to miss the moment, I took pictures and made some mini vlogs there. What a beautiful beach!
Jumping high in Tebing beach (Fuji)

4. Rahmatullah Mosque

After visiting Tebing Beach, it's time for us to go to Rahmatullah Mosque. It's one of witnesses of tsunami ferocity in 2004. Even though the tragedy happened more than one decade, the mosque is still looked dashing.
Masjid Rahmatullah tampak malam. Maapkeun fasilitas kamera yang apa adanya (dokpri)
Rahmatullah mosque in 2 months post-tsunami 2004 (Noval Kurniadi)
One of the corner of the mosque was deliberately maintained (dokpri)
Maghrib azan came. So, we decided to pray there. When we went inside the mosque, I felt astonished. It's because some broken parts of mosque was deliberately maintained to recall tsunami tragedy. At the time I just can say, "Wow!" How great is the power of god!

That's my story about the interesting places in Banda Aceh. What do you think? Is it interesting, isn't it?

Now, Banda Aceh became one of my journey of life. Thanks for Dompet Dhuafa for the opportunity. I hope I can go to there again one day.

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