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Huaisheng Mosque (Remember the Sage Mosque)

The Huaisheng Mosque in Guangzhou, also named the Light Tower Mosque or the Lighthouse Mosque, is located at No. 56, Guangta Road. With an area of 3,547 square yards (2,966 square meters), it is the oldest mosque existing in China, confirming its remarkable position among the four oldest mosques in the coastal areas, with the other three being Quanzhou Kylin Mosque, Yangzhou Crane Mosque, and Hangzhou Phoenix Mosque. Huaisheng Mosque was first built in 627, during the Tang Dynasty (618-907), when Islam was introduced to China for the first time. It was invested and constructed by some Arabs and named as Huaisheng Mosque, meaning ‘remembering the sage’, in honor of Islamic prophet Muhammad.

Generally speaking, Huaisheng Mosque maintains its original Arab architecture style. Walking into a narrow entrance, a screen wall can be seen, which prevents visitors from seeing the inner courtyard. But passing through the screen wall, the quaint buildings come into view.

 Moon Tower
Walking through three doors, tourists come to the Moon Tower, which is a square gate tower with a red sandstone base built in the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644) and a double-eave roof renovated in the Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911). The tower is used to observe the moon to decide the time for the Fast and Ramadan.

 Prayer Hall
Going forward, a larger courtyard appears. At the two sides of it, Covered Corridor can be seen, where some Islamic texts are posted. Right in front of the courtyard locates the Prayer Hall, which is the center of Huaisheng Mosque. When worshiping, followers face the direction of Mecca. The color and decoration in the hall is based on the west Asian style. Non- Muslims are not allowed to enter into the Prayer Hall, but just appreciate the architecture from the outside.

 Lighthouse
The most outstanding building inside the mosque is the Lighthouse (minaret). It cannot be sure that when the tower was built, but it is believed to be the oldest existing Islamic architecture in China. Lying at the southwest of the mosque, the round Light Tower with a pointed tip is about 118 feet (36 meters) tall. It is from the tower that the mosque itself gets another name - Light Tower Mosque. The tower features the typical characteristics of Arab architecture style with pointed tip on the top. A muezzin would climb up to the tower to call out to followers at prayer times. It is said that the minaret was used as a beacon to lead directions for ships passing through the river. Besides, sailors often climb up to the tower to observe the weather conditions.

Huaisheng Mosque also houses other scenic spots, such as the Exhibition Hall, the Ancient Well and flourishing trees. Walking in the mosque, tourists can see many historical relics and tablets with inscriptions, too.

 Transportation:
1. Take bus line 56, 58 and get off at Guangta Road Station.
2. Take Subway Line 1 to Ximenkou Station. Get out from Exit B and then walk about 550 yards (500 meters) to reach it.
 Guangzhou Bus / Subway Search
 
Admission only open to the Muslims and tour groups 
Opening Hours 08:30 - 17:00
Recommended Time for a Visit Half an hour

 Nearby Attractions:
Bright Filial Piety Temple (Guangxiao Temple): one of the oldest Buddhist temples in Guangzhou; having an important position in Buddhist history.
Temple of the Six Banyan Trees: one of the four best Buddhist temples in Guangzhou; the symbolic building in the temple is the Six Banyan Pagoda (Flowery Pagoda) where Buddhist relics are placed.