It is the oldest Islamic mosque in Shanghai district. It is not a regular tourist attraction, but it is an active mosque that people say feels peaceful and has gardens. You can see a mixture of Islamic and Chinese architecture.
Muslims began to build this mosque complex about 1364-1367 near the end of the Yuan Empire period (1271-1368). In the Ming Empire era (1368-1644), rulers ordered that the mosque be rebuilt in 1391. During the Qing Empire era (1644-1911), they renovated the complex several times. The main buildings are the main hall, a prayer area, a corridor, two teaching halls, and a bath house. The Bangke Gate Tower or the Minaret Tower rises above the complex and is a classical Arabic architecuture. The place of worship shows Ming Dynasty architectural style. There are four plaques that date from the reigns of four emperors: Kang Xi, Jia Qing, Dao Guang, and Tong Zhi.
Songjiang mosque was said to have been first built during the Yuan (Mongolian) Dynasty period. In the complex, pathways and small, overgrown gardens greet you. You can see Arabic columns and Chinese landscape gardens and circular doorways. There are also grave markers with Chinese and Arabic scripts. People can wander around during designated times, but they can't enter the main prayer hall during worship times. Entering the main prayer hall may not be possible. Outside the building are Moslem shops and restaurants, so you can also have a Muslim meal. This area of Shanghai is interesting because it is more traditional, and there is also an equally old Buddhist temple about two blocks away. So a trip to the Songjiang Mosque may be a big change from what you may usually see in China.
Major Sites in the Mosque Complex
The Tower was first built in the Yuan Dynasty era. It was rebuilt in the Ming Dynasty era. The gate of the tower has some exquisite stonework and ancient script.
The Worship Hall has a Ming Dynasty era style. Only Muslims can enter in after taking off their shoes and bathing. During the summer, the floor is covered with mats, and during the winter, the floor is covered with blankets. In the back, you can see some Yuan Dynasty architecture.
The Southern Forum was constructed during the Qing Dynasty era. It was used as a classroom by the Imams who taught Islam to the people. It is now sort of an exhibition room that instructs on the mosque, its history, and Shanghai's Muslims.
An ancient cypress tree of note is said to be 400 years old. It is still healthy and growing.
Continue to read mosques in China
Just two blocks away at the intersecton of Zhongshanzhong Road and Xilin Road (中山中路, 西林北路) is a Buddhist temple complex with Xilin Pagoda. The Xilin Temple is an active Buddhist temple. There is a 7-story pagoda that is made of brick and wood. It is said be 700 years old, or perhaps it was first built 700 years ago. Some tourists like to see both the mosque and the Buddhist temple to see the contrast since both are active and not too touristy.
Within three kilometers of Songjiang Mosque, there is Sixian Park that is three kilometers to the north, Zuibaichi Park that is just to the south, and the Square Pagoda of Songjiang that is about 2.3 kilometers to the east. There is a scenic area called Lita Scenic Area about 7 kilometers to the southwest.
- Address: 43 Middle Part of Middle Mountain Road, Songjiang District, Shanghai. 松江清真寺 -- 上海市松江区中山中路43号. Or 21 Gangbeng Alleyway, Songjiang District. 松江区缸甏巷21号. You can show a taxi driver the above addresses. The mosque's lot has both addresses. Taxi fare from central Shanghai is about 150 RMB or 23 USD.
- Bus: Tourist Sightseeing Bus 1A goes from the East Shanghai Stadium Bus Station approximately every 30 minutes between 7:30 am and 5:30 pm. Cost: RMB 10 or 1.5 USD.
- Metro: Line 9's last stop is the Songjiang Xincheng Station in the Songjiang District. You can take a taxi from there.
- Train: There is a train stop only 800 meters or about half a mile south called the Songjiang Station of the Huhang Line. But it isn't recommended that tourists take this train because it is said to be generally crowded with poor people and farmers. Tickets are cheap, but the train is smelly. The train station is next to the Zuibaichi Park.
Only Muslims may enter the main prayer rooms of most mosques. So check with the local authorities to see whether you can enter.
- Dress: This is an active mosque, so people should not wear shorts or skirts. A woman may need to wear a scarf.