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Home China Guide China-tourist-attractions Xi'an Forest of Stone Steles Museum
Forest of Stone Steles Museum


Great Mosque

The Great Mosque of Xi'anThe Great Mosque of Xi'an, located near the Drum Tower (Gu Lou) on Huajue Lane of Xi'an, Shaanxi
province, China, is one of the oldest and most renowned mosques in the country.

It was first built in the Tang Dynasty, and renovated in later periods (especially during the reign of
Emperor Hongwu of the Ming Dynasty). Unlike most mosques in Middle Eastern or Arab countries, the
Great Mosque of Xi'an 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.

Occupying an area of over 12,000 square meters, the Great Mosque is divided into four courtyards, 250
meters long and 47 meters wide with a well-arranged layout. Landscaped with gardens, the further one
strolls into its interior, the more serene one feels.

In the first courtyard, there is a wooden arch. The arch, 9 meters high, with glaze-covered tiles, can be traced back to 17 century. Three chambers
stand by each side of the arch, in which now displays some furniture preserved from the Ming and Qing Dynasties. On the center of the second
yard stands a stone arch with two steles on both sides. On the steles are famous calligraphies from prominent ancient calligraphers. The Fourth
Courtyard contains a big prayer hall which can accommodate over thousands people at a time.   The Great Mosque of Xi'an

At the entrance to the third courtyard is a hall that contains many steles from ancient times. As visitors enter this
courtyard, they will see the Xingxin Tower, a place where Muslims come to attend prayer services. A "Phoenix" placed
in the fourth courtyard, the principal pavilion of this great mosque complex, contains the Prayer Hall, the surrounding
walls of which are covered with colored designs. This Hall can easily hold 1,000 people at a time and according to
traditional custom, prayer services are held five times everyday respectively at dawn, noon, afternoon, dusk and night.

The mosque is a combination of traditional Chinese architecture and Islamic art. In Chinese style, it constructed as
a series of pavilions, buildings with four courtyards between them. The wall, however, is decorated with Islamic art.



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