Top Ten Bruneian Attractions

Top Ten Bruneian Attractions

       Brunei is a sovereign state located on the north coast of the island of Borneo, in Southeast Asia. Apart from its coastline with the South China Sea, it is completely surrounded by the state of Sarawak, Malaysia, and in fact it is separated into two parts by Limbang, which is part of Sarawak. It is the only sovereign state completely on the island of Borneo, with the remainder of the island belonging to Malaysia and Indonesia. Brunei’s population is roughly 400,000 (2010). Brunei can trace its beginnings to the 7th century, when it was a subject state of the Srivijayan empire under the name P’o-li. It later became a vassal state of the Majapahit Empire before converting to Islam in the 15th century. At the peak of its empire, the sultanate had control that extended over the coastal regions of modern-day Sarawak and Sabah, the Sulu archipelago, and the islands off the northwest tip of Borneo. The thalassocracy was visited by Ferdinand Magellan in 1521 and fought the Castille War in 1578 against Spain. Its empire began to decline with the forced ceding of Sarawak to James Brooke and the ceding of Sabah to the British North Borneo Chartered Company. After the loss of Limbang, Brunei finally became a British protectorate in 1888, receiving a resident in 1906. In the years after the wartime occupation, it formalized a constitution and fought an armed rebellion. Brunei regained its independence from the UK on January 1, 1984. Economic growth during the 1970’s and 1990’s, averaging 56% from 1999 to 2008, has transformed Brunei Darussalam into a newly industrialized country. Brunei has the 2nd highest Human Development Index among the South East Asia nations after Singapore, and is classified as a Developed Country.

  1. Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque

           Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque is a royal Islamic mosque located in Bandar Seri Begawan, the capital of the Sultanate of Brunei. The mosque is one of the most spectacular mosques in the Asia Pacific and a major landmark and tourist attraction of Brunei. Named after Omar Ali Saifuddien III, the 28th Sultan of Brunei, the mosque as a symbol of the Islamic faith in Brunei dominates the skyline of Bandar Seri Begawan. The building was completed in 1958 and is an impressive example of modern Islamic architecture. The mosque unites Mughal architecture and Italian styles. The plans were done by Booty and Edwards Chartered Architects according to designs by the Italian architect Cavaliere Rudolfo Nolli, who had already for decades been working at the gulf of Siam. The mosque is built in an artificial lagoon on the banks of the Brunei River at Kampong Ayer, the “village in the water.” It has marble minarets and golden domes with courtyards and lush gardens full of fountains. The mosque is surrounded by a large number of trees and floral gardens which in Islam symbolize heaven. A bridge reaches across the lagoon to Kampong Ayer in the middle of the river. Another marble bridge leads to a structure in the lagoon meant as a replica of a 16th Century Sultan Bolkiah mahligai barge. It was built to commemorate the 1,400th anniversary of Nuzul Al-Quran (coming down of the Quran), completed in 1967 and used to stage Quran reading competitions. The mosque’s most recognizable feature, the main dome, is covered in pure gold. The mosque stands 52 m (171 ft) high and can be seen from virtually anywhere in Bandar Seri Begawan. The main minaret is the mosque’s tallest feature. In a unique way it mixes Renaissance and Italian architectural style. The minaret has an elevator to the top, where one can enjoy a panoramic view of the city. The interior of the mosque is for prayer only. It has magnificent stained glass windows, arches, semi-domes and marble columns. Nearly all the material used for the building has been imported from abroad: the marble from Italy, the granite from Shanghai, the crystal chandeliers from England and the carpets from Saudi Arabia.
    Links: Top Ten Mosques, Top Ten Architectural Works by Booty and Edwards Chartered Architects, Top Ten Architectural Works by Cavaliere Rudolfo Nolli, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sultan_Omar_Ali_Saifuddin_Mosque,
  2. Temburong

           Temburong is the eastern-most district in Brunei. It is an exclave, as it is separated from the rest of Brunei by Malaysia and Brunei Bay. Its capital is Bangar. The main town located in the district is Pekan Bangar.
    Links: National Parks, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temburong_District,
  3. Belait

           Belait is the largest district in Brunei, as well as the western-most. The word ‘Belait’ is taken from the name of the native inhabitants of Belait, the Belait People. The district is administered from the town of Kuala Belait, its capital. Belait is governed by an appointed District Officer. The current District Officer of Belait is Awg. Haji Jamain bin Momin. Other major town includes include Seria town and Sungai Liang.
    Links: Top Ten Mosques, Top 100 Photographs, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belait_District,
  4. Brunei-Muara

           Brunei-Muara is the northern-most district (daerah in Malay) in Brunei; it is the smallest of Brunei’s four districts in term of area but by far the most populous, with over half the country’s population. It is the most important and bustling district because the capital, Bandar Seri Begawan which is also the state capital is the seat of the government ministries and departmental headquarters as well as the center of business activities. Other major town in the Brunei-Muara district include Muara town. The Brunei-Muara district contains the largest and deepest port in Brunei, the Muara Port. The Brunei-Muara district is located in the north-east, bordering the South China Sea to the north, Brunei Bay to the east, Limbang, Sarawak (Malaysia) to the south and the Bruneian district of Tutong to the west.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brunei_and_Muara,
  5. Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brunei,