Guangzhou holds a position of prominence for Islam in China as the earliest contacts of Islam with China occurred in this area during the Tang era, and later on, spread to other areas from here. As such Guangzhou can be called the cradle of Chinese Islam. Guangzhou also has the credit of having the oldest mosque in China and the tomb of a highly revered Islamic sage. Both of these are important Islamic Heritage sites. A large number of Muslims live in Guangzhou, including many foreigners from several countries around the globe. There are four main mosques in this city:
1. Guangzhou Huaisheng Mosque 广州怀圣清真寺
The Guangzhou Huaisheng Mosque is of great historical importance as it is the oldest mosques in China. It was built in the Tang Dynasty and has a history of more than 1,300 years.
The mosque covers a total area of 3,600 square meters, including a constructed area of 1,553 square meters with 400 square meters making up the main prayer hall. The buildings are a mix of traditional Chinese architecture and the Arabic style. Arabic calligraphy can be seen on the walls and pillars
The main features include the prayer hall, the tall minaret or Guangta Tower, the Crescent building, east and west galleries, scripture store-room, a pavilion housing an ancient stele, and some other features. The main prayer hall is located in the center of a courtyard. In the prayer hall, the decoration is simple and the floor is covered by prayer mats. The Arabic styled Guangta Tower is cylindrical in shape and stands 36 meters tall.
- Address: 6 Zhongshan Road, 56 Guangta Street, Yuexiu District, Guangzhou (广州市越秀区位于中山六路光塔街)
- How to get there: Metro line 1 to Ximenkou Station, or bus to Guangtalu Staton
2. 广州先贤清真寺 (Guangzhou Xianxian Mosque)
The Guangzhou Abi Waqqas mosque is the largest place of worship for Muslims in Guangzhou. It was first built in the 3rd year (629) of Zhenguan of the Tang Dynasty (618-907).
The Mosque complex covers a total area of about 25,000 square meters including a large constructed area. The prayer hall is a two-floor building and up to 10,000 Muslims come here for Friday prayers. Most of the existing buildings in the mosque are constructed on the architectural style of the Ming Dynasty.
The Mosque has some very important historic sites. It houses the tomb of a revered Islamic sage and many Muslims from China and the rest of the world come to visit the place and pay homage to the sage. The mosque complex also has a garden-style cemetery which was built to honor of 40 famous Arab Muslim missionaries. The other major features are the Three Martyr's pavilion, the memorial archways, the ancient well and a number of graves and tombstones among the trees and plants in the area.
- Address: 901 Jiefang North Road, Yuexiu District, Guangzhou (广州越秀区解放北路901号) (see Guangzhou map)
- How to get there: Metro Line 2 to Yuexiu Park Station or buses to Yuexiu Park Station
3. Guangzhou Haopan Mosque 广州濠畔清真寺
The Haopan Mosque is 500 years old, first built in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and rebuilt again in 1706.
It covers an area of 1,491 square meters and can house up to 400 Muslims on Friday. The mosque has been constructed on the Southern garden-style architecture.
The main features are the prayer hall and the gate. The gate faces the south. The main hall, 18.8 meters wide and 19.6 meters deep is located to the west.
- Address: 378 Haopan Street, Tiancheng Road, Guangzhou (广州市越秀区人民中路濠畔街378号) (see Guangzhou map)
- How to get there: Metro Line 6 to Yidelu station, or buses to Dadelu Station or Daxinlukou Station
4. Guangzhou Xiaodongying Mosque 广州小东营清真寺
The Xiaodongying Mosque was first built in the Chenghua Period, Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). The mosque has a long history and some fine cultural traditions.
The total area is 500 square meters including a constructed area of 462 square meters. Up to 1300 Muslims come for Friday prayers in this mosque. The prayer hall is a mix of Arab style and Chinese palace-style architecture and covers an area of 153 square meters.
It has serviced as the place for religious education and has founded organizations like the "Guangzhou Muslim Youth League", and " Muslim Tongyi League". It also initiated a magazine called the "Mumin". The mosque also provides services for funerals.
- Address: Xiaodongying Street, Guangzhou (广东省广州市小东营街) (see Guangzhou map)
- How to get there: Buses to Yuehualu Station, or Cangbianlu Station
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