Also known as Masjid Chulia, Jamae Mosque is one of Singapore’s oldest mosques and a prominent landmark in Chinatown since the 1820s.
With its distinctive front gate and minarets, Jamae Mosque may seem like a curious oddity in its predominantly Chinese location in Chinatown.
But, along with its neighbour, Sri Mariamman Temple, Jamae Mosque has been a prominent landmark in South Bridge Road for nearly 200 years, often appearing in early illustrations, photographs and postcards.
A mosque for Chulia migrants
Built in 1826, Jamae Mosque was the first of three mosques in Chinatown erected by the Chulias, who were Tamil Muslims from the Coromandel Coast of Southern India.
This is why it is also known as Masjid Chulia or Chulia Mosque. It is one of the few mosques in Singapore holding religious classes in Tamil today.
Said to be one of the oldest mosques in Singapore, Jamae Mosque has an eclectic architectural style, borrowing elements from both East and West.
The entrance gate has a South Indian Indo-Islamic influence, while the prayer hall’s neoclassical features include Doric columns and large windows with Chinese green-glazed tiles.
The intricately designed palace facade has tiny doors and cross-shaped openings—worth a second look.
In any case, this is the site to see early Singapore architecture in its original form. Unlike other 19th century religious buildings, Jamae Mosque has not been rebuilt, although it has been repaired and repainted.
Jamae Mosque was gazetted as a national monument in 1974.