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Great Mosque

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  • A Stone Arch
    A Stone Arch
  • An Ancient Pavilion
    An Ancient Pavilion
  • Tour at Xian Great Mosque
    Tour at Xian Great Mosque
  • Chinese-style Minaret
    Chinese-style Minaret
  • A Memorial Archway
    A Memorial Archway
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Located near the Drum Tower (Gu Lou) on 30 Huajue Lane of Xian, Shaanxi province, the Great Mosque of Xian, is one of the oldest and most renowned mosques in China.

Originally built in 742 AD, it is an age-old Chinese palatial construction complex with grand scale. The present layout and outlook came into being after undergoing several renovation and protection in Song (960 - 1279), Yuan (1271 - 1368), Ming (1368 - 1644) and Qing (1644 - 1911) Dynasties. Unlike most mosques in Middle Eastern or Arab countries, the Great Mosque of Xian 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.

The Great Mosque covers a total area of 12,000 square meters (14.351 square yards) with the floor space of about 6,000 square meters (7,176 square yards). It is laid out with successive courtyards on a single axis with pavilions and pagodas for Islamic purpose on the two sides. The courtyards are beautifully decorated with fountains and pavilions and other features, such as steles and arches with Arabic writing and drawings on them. 

You can walk into the first courtyard via the side gates along the north and south precinct walls. Its eastern precinct wall is constructed of finely ground and polished brick and has a wide screen wall at its center, carved with floral patterns organized into three diamond shapes. At the center of the first courtyard is an imposing wooden arch that serves as the gateway leading to the complex. Beside the two sides of the arch are three furnished chambers that dated from Ming and Qing Dynasties. In the central courtyard, there is a stone arch with two steles exhibiting calligraphies by famous calligraphers in the ancient times. A rectilinear stone Pailou stands in the center of the second courtyard. There are three doorways, the central of which is higher and wider than the other two. 'Pavilion for Introspection', also known as the 'the Tower for Visiting Heart' stands in the center of the third courtyard. This octagonal pavilion is the commanding structure of the third courtyard. The brick tower is over ten meters tall with three floors separated by eaves and wrapped by wooden balconies. The Sermon Telling Hall flanks the pavilion, inside which there preserves the manuscript Koran and Tianfang Mekka Picture. Walking into the fourth courtyard and you will see the Phoenix Pavilion in the center. Built during the Qing Dynasty, the pavilion is said to look like a phoenix with its wings spreading out.  

Go further to the back of the mosque, and you come to the most important venue - Prayer Hall, about 1,300 square meters in area. It is where about 60,000 Muslims gather and make prayer five times a day. The hall is able to accommodate a thousand people at a time. The ceiling of the Hall is made up of about 600 pictures, and each one differs from another in colors and designs. The inside walls with grass and floral designs are carved with Koran, which fully exemplifies the perfect combination of traditional Chinese architecture and Islamic art. 

The Great Mosque is the only mosque that is open to tourists in China. It is one of the must-see in Xian.

 Entrance Fee: CNY 25 (Mar. to Nov.)   CNY 15 (Dec. to Feb.)

A. Take Bus No. 1, 43, 201, 205 or 611 and get off at Guangji Street, and then walk to the mosque.
B. Take Bus No. 6, 8, 11, 12, 16, 26, 29, 229, 302, 502, 600, 603, K618, 706, Tourism Bus No. 7 or Airport Shuttle Bus Line 1 and get off at Bell Tower stop and then walk to the mosque.
C. Take Bus No. 4, 7,15, 32, 45, 201, 206, 215, 218, 221, 222, 251, 300, 604, 612, K630 or Tourist Bus No. 8 (610) and get off at Drum Tower stop, and then walk to the mosque.

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