Xi'an Great Mosque
The Great Mosque, located at 30 Huajue (Change Feeling) Lane in the center of the city, is the largest and one of the most important Islamic places of worship in China.
It's construction started in 742 AD, the first year of the Tianbao Era of Emperor Xuanrong's reign in the Tang Dynasty, and additions were made during the Song (960-1279), Yuan (1271-1638), Ming (1368-1644), and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties, which makes it an ancient architectural complex representative of many periods of time.
In the Tang dynasty, Islam was introduced to China by the Arabian merchants. Many Muslims settled in China and married Han people. The Great Mosque was constructed at that time to honor the founders of Islam in China. Since then many other mosques have been erected across the county.
Covering an area of 6,000 square meters, the whole complex can be divided into four courtyards. In the first courtyard, there is a wooden arch. The arch is nine meters high, with glaze-covered tiles, and can be traced back to the seventeenth century. Three chambers stand either side of the arch, in which is now displayed some furniture preserved from the Ming and Qing dynasties. In the center of the second yard stands a stone arch with two steles on both sides. On the steles are famous calligraphic writings from prominent ancient calligraphers. The fourth courtyard contains a big prayer hall which can accommodate over a thousand people.
The mosque is a combination of traditional Chinese architecture and Islamic art. In Chinese style, there are a series of pavilions, with the four courtyards of the mosque between them. The wall, however, is decorated with Islamic art.
It is the only mosque in the country that is open to visitors. However, non-Muslim visitors are not allowed to enter the main prayer hall. The Great Mosque was added to the UNESCO Islamic Heritage List in 1985. See famous churches and mosques in China.
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I updated this article on March 4, 2014
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