Kapitan Keling Mosque

The praying devotees, sleek Muslim architecture and calls to prayer add yet another element to Penang’s diverse cultural mosaic.

Tipped with crescents and stars, the gracefully curved domes of Penang’s Kapitan Keling Mosque make for a striking addition to the Georgetown skyline. Take the time to walk around the 8-acre (3-hectare) grounds and through the sweeping arches. Spacious walkways and an abundance of white stone induce a sense of peace and contemplation whatever your religious persuasion.

Kapitan Keling Mosque was established in 1801 by Indian traders based in Penang. The original structure was a basic square room built from Indian stone. Several renovations, most notably in the 1930s and 2003, have created the breathtaking structure you see today.

This is a working mosque, and once inside you will almost certainly see worshipers carrying out their daily prayers, washing themselves in the ablution pools, or simply sitting and enjoying the tranquility of the grounds.

If you want to take a guided tour, head to the Information Centre on the ground floor of the minaret, where members of the Islamic Propagation Society are on-hand to offer interesting background and details. Or, wander the well laid-out grounds yourself, taking note of the intricate geometric and floral designs on the walls, and the smooth marble floors lined with prayer rugs.

Don’t miss the prayer hall, where a huge chandelier hanging from the ceiling and panels covered in Islamic script make for one of the mosque’s most striking sights. In the same area you’ll also notice a large glass panel decorated with the Star of David.

Find the Kapitan Keling Mosque on Jalan Masjid in central Georgetown. Admission is free every afternoon, with reduced hours on Fridays. Note that respectful dress is required, with women and men required to cover arms and legs, and women requiring a headscarf. Robes are provided free upon entry.

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