Great Mosque
Address: Huajue Xiang 30
Transport: Bus: No. 221, 29, 6, 618
Phone: 029-87272541
Price: ¥25

The Great Mosque of Xian, located near the Drum Tower (Gu Lou) on Huajue Lane of Xi'an, Shaanxi province, China, is one of the oldest and most renowned mosques in the country.

It was first built in the Tang Dynasty (reign of Emperor Xuanzong, 685-762), and renovated in later periods (especially during the reign of Emperor Hongwu of the Ming Dynasty). It remains a popular tourist site of Xi'an, and is still used by Chinese Muslims (mainly the Hui people) today as a place of worship. Unlike most mosques in Middle Eastern or Arab countries, the Great Mosque of Xi'an is completely Chinese in its construction and architectural style, except for some Arabic lettering and decorations, for the mosque has neither domes nor traditional-style minarets.

During the prosperous Tang Dynasty (618-907) large number of Moslems traveled the world-famous Silk Road to Chang’an (former name for Xian) bringing Islam to China. With the support of the Tang emperor Xuanzong(Li Longji, 685-762, reigned 712-756), they established the Great Mosque in 742. It is a well-preserved example of cultural merging, having been renovated several times and preserved by the Chinese Government.

The Mosque exhibits the signification of overseas architecture. From the carvings and furniture inside to the eaved pagoda for the minaret, Chinese influence is apparent. However, Arabic and West Asian styles prevail in the Great Hall of the Mosque, which was built mainly in the 14th century. Inscriptions are in Arabic, but the characters are sometimes arranged like Chinese characters. The library includes many books in the Arabic style, which were actually written in China. It is the largest of the four mosques still in operation in the city of Xi’an. Encompassing approximately 4,000 square meters, it is still an active Moslem temple.

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