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 Xi'an Great Mosque - the Largest Mosque in China

Xi'an Great Mosque - the Largest Mosque in China

Written by CindyUpdated Nov. 16, 2023

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. The Great Mosque was added to the UNESCO Islamic Heritage List in 1985. See famous churches and mosques in China.

The History of the Mosque

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.

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The Structure of the Mosque

Xi'an Great MosqueXi'an Great Mosque

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 courtyard stands a stone arch with two steles on both sides. On the steles are famous calligraphic writings from prominent ancient calligraphers.

At the entrance to the third courtyard is a hall that contains many steles from ancient times. In the center of the yard is the Xingxin Tower, where visitors can come to attend prayer services.

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.

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Travel Essentials for Planning a Trip

Great Mosque

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.

  • Location: It is located at 30 Huajue Lane in the center of the city.
  • How to get there: Take Tourism Bus No. 8 (610) or bus 4, 7, 32, 201 and get off at Zhonglou (Bell Tower) Station.
  • Open: 8am – 7pm
  • Entrance fee: 25 yuan (March 1 to November 30 ); 15 yuan (December 1 to end of next February)

Nearby Attractions

  • The Terracotta Army: It is one of the greatest archaeological sites in the world, and one of the greatest discoveries of the 20th century.
  • The Ancient City Wall: A landmark dividing Xi'an into the inner part and the outer part, it boasts one of the earliest walls that ever existed in China.
  • Big Wild Goose Pagoda: Xi'an's most famous landmark, it is one of China's best examples of a Tang-style pagoda.

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