Beijing's most historical and majestic mosque, it is situated on the Ox Street (Niujie in Chinese) in the city's Xuanwu District. First built back in 996, it has a history that stretches back over a thousand years, in which time it has undergone numerous refits and extensions, and has greeted Muslims from all over the world to worship. It covers an area of over 6000 square meters (7176 square yards), and is structurally based on traditional Chinese wooden palaces, yet adopts a typical Arabic-style of decoration. There are no human or animal figures among these decorations as these are considered taboo in Islam.
Unlike south-facing Buddhist temples, it points towards Mekka, the holy land of Islam, in the west. The layout is symmetrical and compact. The entrance gate is fronted by a large wall with a white marble pedestal, which stretches for around 40 meters (44 yards). A series of relief sculptures sit on the wall, depicting images of happiness and fortune. After passing through the entrance gate, visitors are faced by the Watching Moon Tower; a hexagonal, two-storied structure, reaching over 10 meters (33 feet) tall and housed under a golden-glazed roof. The tower is so named because it was used by the imam to observe the position of the moon to determine times for fasting.
Walking along the path that runs beside the tower, visitors eventually reach the Prayer Hall - the most important building in it. It is a place only open to Muslims. Covering an area of 600 square meters (718 square yards), the hall has the capacity for a few thousand worshippers. The hall's arched gate is decorated with script from the Koran and poems of worship. Some of the text is written in the ancient Arabic characters of Al-Kufi, which is rarely seen in China. The room is also adorned with various paintings of flowers, strings of glass beads and colored glass, which contribute to the hall's air of great importance and holiness.
Outside of the Prayer Hall, two stele pavilions sit either side of the hall. In each of them stands a stone tablet details the history of it. To the southeast of the hall, two black-brick graves of Shaykhs lie under a dense collection of cypress trees. Although hundreds of years old, the epigraphs on the gravestones remain clearly readable and are of great importance to research into the history of Islam in China.
It offers visitors not only the chance to admire a truly unique building, but also the opportunity to broaden their knowledge about Islam and its place in Chinese cultural history. It should certainly rank highly on any visitor to Beijing's itinerary.
1. Proper dress is required. No admittance if you are wearing shorts or a skirt.
2. Admittance to the Prayer Hall is limited to Muslims only.
3. Some areas in it are not open to the public. Please refer to the information on the ticket.
|Entrance Fee:||CNY 10|
|By Subway:||Take Subway Line 2 to Changchun Jie Station, get out from Exit C1 and walk about 1.5km south to it; or get out from Exit A and take bus 10 for only 4 stops to it.|
|By Bus:||Take bus 10, 48, 88, 213 or 717 and get off at Niu Jie Li Bai Si Station. |
Take bus 381, 715, Te5, 613, 717, 687, 5, 477, 6, 38, 109, 201, 57 and get off at Niujie Lukou Xi Station.
Take bus 57, 201, 687, 6, 613 and get off at Niujie Lukou Dong Station.
Beijing Bus / Subway Search
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