Home: City Guide: Xian: Attractions
Font Size:    

Great Mosque

In front of the entrance of the fourth courtyard is the ornamental hexagon Phoenix Pavilion - a combination of the Chinese traditional archway and pavilion with a board proclaiming 'One Truth of the One God', written during the Ming. On both sides of the pavilion are some side rooms. In the south used to be the place to receive the officials who came to announce the edicts from the emperors. Now inside it, you can find historical and cultural relics of the Ming and the Qing. In the north preserved an old stone sundial and stone tablets with inscriptions about the mosque of the Tang and other dynasties.

The large Prayer Hall with a triple roof of turquoise tiles on a wide platform dates from the Ming. It can hold 1000 believers and on its coffered ceilings are over 600 classical scriptures in colorful decorative patterns of grass and flowers. On 600 pieces of wooden boards 'The Koran' is carved.

The Great Mosque now serves as an important spot for religious activities of over 60,000 Muslims in Xian.

 Historical Background

Islam as a religious order was founded in the early part of the 7th century A.D. and was introduced to China in the mid-600s. At that time, Arabian merchants and travelers came to the northwest of China by way of Persia and Afghanistan, to establish diplomatic, trade, and military contacts with China. At the same time, another route saw a group of sea voyagers find their way through Bangladesh Bay and the Malacca Strait to Guangzhou, Quanzhou, Hangzhou, Yangzhou and other Chinese cities, where many of them settled and married local women who gave birth to babies who became the first generation of Chinese Muslims.

However, massive immigration of Muslims to China did not take place until as late as the early period of the 13th century. As a result of his expedition against the west, Genghis Khan had conquered vast expanses of land stretching from Central Asia to Eastern Europe, including the north part of Iran. Many of the Moslems in these conquered areas were thus forced to enlist and were later settled in China.

Among the enlisted, many were soldiers; some were smiths and officials. They were called the Hui people in the history books of the Yuan Dynasty. The Hui people later followed Kublai Khan down to the south, helping him unify China and establishing the Yuan Dynasty. In the wake of this conquest, Islam spread throughout China and mosques began to appear everywhere. In the Yuan Dynasty, many Moslems held positions both in the military and civilian organizations of the country. Many Moslems took part in the Zhu Yuanzhang's uprising in the early 14th century and made great contributions to the founding of the Ming Dynasty. Therefore, all the emperors of this Dynasty issued mandates to protect Islam, and to set up mosques in praise of the Moslems for their great contributions. In the early 16th century, Islam dominated Xinjiang and spread its influence to Gansu, Ningxia and Qinghai. It controlled the minority nationalities, including the Huis, the Uygurs, the Kazaks, the Kirgizes, the Tajiks, the Tartars, the Ozbeks, the Dong Xiangs, the Salars and the Bonans. The Moslem in Xian is mainly the Huis, being a small portion out of the 17 million in China.

The Mosque at Huajue Xiang (Huajue Lane) is the largest in Xian, and it is also one of the earliest built on a comparatively large scale, and the best-preserved mosque in China.

In 1956, the mosque was decreed to be an important historical and cultural site. After your visit, you will surely have a better understanding of this old mosque and the religious life of the local Moslems in Xian.

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

Page 1 2
I want to say