Magnificent Sultan Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien (SOAS) Mosque in Brunei Darussalam

A completely unplanned road trip from Seria to Bandar Seri Begawan I made yesterday led me to the photo of the magnificent and historic Sultan Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Mosque, which is quite possibly the most photographed landmark of Brunei Darussalam. Leaving the house, I grabbed the Canon PowerShot G11 from the dry cabinet not realizing then that there wasn’t much battery power left. This photo is one of a series I managed to capture before battery power went out for good.

A view of SOAS Mosque from the Edinburgh Bridge on Jalan Tutong
SOAS_Mosque

Excerpt from The Brunei Times

“POSITIONED majestically on an artificial lagoon near the banks of the Brunei River, the Sultan Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien (SOAS) Mosque stands as among the most magnificent mosques ever built in the world.

With its golden dome and soaring white minarets, the mosque is often pictured as an oasis of serenity amidst the hustle and bustle of downtown Bandar Seri Begawan. The celebration of its golden anniversary heralds the mosque’s unique long-standing status as the heart of the capital and the symbol of Brunei’s deeply-rooted Islamic faith.

The mosque also incorporates Italian and Renaissance architectural styles, but with craftsmanship that reflects classical Islamic architecture. This makes the mosque as one of the most unique Islamic places of worship across the world. The mosque took four years to complete, from 4 February 1954 until 26 September 1958. His Highness Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien is remembered as the “Architect of Modern Brunei”. During his reign from 1950 until his abdication in 1967, the Sultan steered Brunei safely through the turbulent years following WWII, establishing the foundation for the nation’s independence and sovereignty. Through his determination and dedication, he had implemented the foundation to build the infrastructure, society and economy of modern Brunei and also ensuring the preservation of an independent Malay Muslim Monarchy in the modern world.”

DEATH OF AN ICON

Some of you may remember this really tall tree that has appeared so many times in my sunrise landscapes that it has become an icon of the neighbourhood I’m in. Even more iconic is what I think the tree means to the countless number of Oriental Pied hornbills that frequently stopped over, hopping from branch to branch before taking off into the horizon. Sadly, the tree is no longer there as housing contractor cleared the forest and levelled the lone tree to the ground in a matter of minutes.

lone-tree

It pained me to see a tree that has existed long before any of us set foot in this neighbourhood. The day was Feb 09, 2010 and the time 8.57 AM when I first heard the sounds of chainsaw then repeated chopping followed by the ensuing crackling of the falling tree. Six seconds and it was all over leaving a void that will never be filled again. As a result, there has been significantly less sighting of hornbill visits since. Sigh! :(

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