Islamic architecture

One of the most beautiful sights dotting the countryside of Malaysia and Indonesia is the classic dome shape of Islamic architecture.  Every mosque seems to glimmer with white marble and open vaulted entrances and, because it is forbidden to depict Allah or the prophet, the interiors are conspicuously devoid of religious symbols.  The interior of the mosques are generally decorated with inlays of precious stone and words from the Koran written in classical Arabic calligraphy in gold on the walls.  The Masjid Raya (Grand Mosque) we visited in Banda Aceh in northern Sumatra also displayed stunning architectural strength when it was one of the only buildings in the city to survive the 2004 tsunami unscathed (the locals attribute this fact to divine intervention).