Masjid Agung Demak (or the Great Demak Mosque) is one of the oldest mosques in Indonesia, located in the center town of Demak, Central Java Indonesia. The mosque is believed to be built by Sunan Kalijaga, one of the Wali Songo (nine Muslim saints) during the first Demak Sultanate ruler, Raden Patah during the 15th century.
This mosque is the proof of glory achieved by the Demak Bintoro kingdom as the first Islamic kingdom in Java island.
Masjid Agung Demak is the classic example of a traditional Javanese mosque. Unlike mosques in the Middle East it is built from timber. The tiered roof is supported by four enormous teak pillars. This means that the mosque is rather small when compared to many modern Indonesian mosques. The tiered roof shows many similarities with wooden religious structures from the Hindu-Buddhist civilizations of Java and Bali. The main entrance of Masjid Agung Demak consists of two doors carved with motifs of plants, vases, crowns and an animal head with an open wide-toothed mouth. It is said that picture depicts the manifested thunder caught by Ki Ageng Selo, hence their name “Lawang Bledheg” (the doors of thunder).
The Carving and Historical Relics of Masjid Agung Demak
The carvings at Lawang Bledheg are also interpreted according to chronogram based on lunar calculation as “Naga mulat salira wani” which means Saka Year 1388 or A.D. 1466 as the year in which Masjid Agung Demak existed.
The front wall of the mosuqe is inset with sixty-six porcelain tiles. These exquisite blue and white tiles are believed to derive from Champa in modern-day Vietnam, a kingdom with which Demak’s former rival Majapahit had extensive trade contacts. According to some reports, these tiles were stolen from the palace of the Sultan of Majapahit and later added to the mosque.
Masjid Agung Demak has many historical remainders and unique things, such as Saka Tatal; Maksurah; Dhampar Kencana/pulpit; Saka Majapahit; etc. Besides that in the environment of Masjid Agung Demak there are also graves of the sultans of Demak and a museum.