Masjid Raya Gantiang or Gantiang Grand Mosque is one of the oldest mosque in Indonesia and the oldest in the city of Padang. The city mosque is was built in the early 18 th century at the bank of a river in Padang, but was soon relocated to its current location because the Dutch desired to build a road to a port through the previous location of the mosque. After multiple constructions, a sturdy building was erected in 1805. This building was very modest: it was small, had wood and dirt walls, and stone flooring.
Construction of the mosque was very much a community effort. This project was funded by local businesses and built on land donated by local people. Prominent local leaders also directed the constuction. This particular building was completed in 1810. Since then, the Gantiang Grand Mosque is used as a gathering place to device people embarking on Hajj on how to perform the pilgrimage properly.
Renovation to the building began 1900 when the Dutch arranged to install tiled floors and to expand the front chamber and facade. At the same time, chinese Indonesians started to construct an octagonal dome on the roof of the mosque. As for the interior, certain areas were given Chinese-style carvings. The mosque also had 25 columns on the inside, which were decorated with ceramic tiles in 1960. Each column is dedicated to one of the 25 prophets mentioned in the Qur’an and has that prophet’s name engraved on it. A few years afterwards, two minarets were built on either side of the octagonal dome dome of the mosque. The verious renovations culminated in the Gantiang Grand Mosque being a mix of various architectural styles. The mosque not only displays aspects of islamic architecture, but also Chinese and European architecture.
In the early 1925’s, the Gantiang Grand Mosque partially functioned as a school and continued to serve in future significant events. During Japan’s short occupation of Indonesia in the early 1940’s, the mosque was the military’s headquarters for that region. It was also where indigenous people recived military’s headquarters for that region. It was also where indiginous people received military training from the japanese. After Indonesia gained independence, the mosque was frequently visited by many domestic and foreign officials, including dignitaries from Malaysia, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia. Today, the Gantiang Grand Mosque is a popular tourist attraction and functions as a school.