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Feb 21, 2008


RM250mil Civilisation Park: Still under construction


Hmmm. So the hyped up Civilisation Park (Taman Tamadun Islam) is quite picturesque. Even under construction. Set on Pulau Wan Man by the river, it’s ideal for a leisurely morning walk.

Bernama reported: “The TTI, built on a 23-hectare site at Pulau Wan Man, here, has 21 replicas of famous Islamic monuments from all over the world including the Al-Hambra (Spain), Al Sakhra Dome Mosque (Jerusalem in Palestine), and the Kaylan Tower (Uzbekistan). Built at a cost of RM249.3 million, the TTI is expected to draw more tourists to the state.”

Big questions. Has Islamic civilisation been reduced to an entertainment theme park? Amid the replicas of the “famous Islamic monuments” are funfair rides like a ferris wheel and carousel. But it’s no Disneyland which is an escapist’s paradise with its made-believe world and plethora of engaging rides. Here, it’s replicas of buildings, kinda like Legoland, except Legoland is cool to people who like Lego, like me. A security guard also complained about having entertainment concerts to launch an Islamic park. He said: “Macam salah nombor . Jika stadium, ok-lah. Tapi ni agama kan? (Wrong number. If it’s the stadium, then (a concert) is ok. But this is about religion, right?)”

The main attraction is Crystal Mosque. Zainul Arifin wrote in the New Straits Times:

But it is Masjid Kristal, the park’s crowning glory, that is likely to be fodder in this year’s election. It cost between RM200 million and RM1 billion, depending on whom you ask and what his agenda is.

It must be noted that the crystal mosque suffered from bad public relations even before it was built, when it began to be referred as Masjid Kristal. Crystal denotes luxury and grandiosity, when it could not be crystal, but glass that would serve as its walls and domes.

But that is moot now as many of us are imagining the cut and clarity of Bohemian crystals glittering in Sungai Terengganu.

Instinctively, most of us would think that it is such an ostentatious investment, excesses detached from reality. Many feel Terengganu needs many more things than a crystal mosque.

Suspending my cynicism, I believe that the crystal mosque and the Islamic Civilisation park could work, and pay off.

Just as the Kuala Lumpur City Centre, Sepang F1 racing circuit, KL International Airport, Stadium Merdeka, North-South Expressway and Penang Bridge were ridiculed and politicised, and doomed to be failure by public opinion before their construction, the park and its crystal, or glass, mosque could be a plus for Terengganu.

This is the photo on the paper’s website.


Wow. Looks grand right? Make you think it’s like the Shah Alam mosque or the National Mosque right? Well, photos can be deceiving. It’s rather small, about the size of three to four terrace houses. Not even as big as the Bangsar Mosque.

Also, Bernama claimed that it’s built on a 23-hectare (about 56-acre) site. WOW. Sounds grand again. Does that include the river? It’s definitely not as big as Disneyland in Tokyo which is about 114 acres. I really don’t think the park is about half the size of Disneyland unless it includes some parts outside the actual theme park, like roads and carpark. Maybe it is. I walked around the park in about 30minutes. Disneyland takes some time. The National Mosque allegedly sits on 13 acres of land. I walked kinda fast. So maybe that’s why.

Did I mention it’s also still under construction.

Check out my photos.

kristal 1

kristal 1a
The road to civilisation….

kristal 2
Kristal Mosque in the background, that’s probably the most complete part of the “theme park”…

kristal 3

kristal 4

kristal 5

kristal 6

kristal 7

kristal 8

kristal 10

kristal 11

My handbag on the right…to show the scale of replicas…..

However, a handful of visitors were spotted this morning at about 8.30am. A couple at the entrance seemed confused that along the road to the park, construction work were still being carried out. There were also a few (like five to ten) people inside Kristal Mosque. And about two to three on Wednesday morning for the early prayer.

I am gonna visit the floating mosque later today……if all goes well. I kinda wanna just hang around the waterfront…And eat more yummy local food…..


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