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Great Mosque

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Xi'an Great Mosque (Chinese: 西安大清真寺)

Brief Introduction
The Great Mosque, located at 30 Huajue Lane in the center of the city, is the largest mosque in China and one of the hottest attractions for today. The Great Mosque in Xi'an was built in early Ming dynasty with Chinese construction and architectural style, features Islamic culture with carving and the integration of Chinese traditional. The wooden archway in the front courtyard was built in the 17th century, and is around nine meters high, with upturned eaves, painted rafters and carved beams, standing alongside the screen wall. The Honored Prayer Hall, Worship Hall, Shengxin Lou and Phoenix Pavilion are also must-sees in the mosque.

Like the Great Mosques at Hangzhou, Quanzhou and Guangzhou, the Great Mosque of Xian is thought to have existed as early as the seventh century. The mosque that stands today, however, was begun in 1392 in the twenty-fifth year of the Ming Dynasty. It was ostensibly founded by naval admiral and hajji Cheng Ho, the son of a prestigious Muslim family and famous for clearing the China Sea of pirates.

Since the fourteenth century, the mosque has undergone numerous reconstructions. Most of the buildings extant today are from the Ming and Qing Dynasties of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The mosque was constructed on Hua Jue Lane just outside the city walls built by the Ming Dynasty, in what was once the jiao-fang neighborhood for foreigners to the northwest of the city. Today, this neighborhood is part of Xian proper, with the city's famous Drum Tower a block away.

History of Great Mosque in Xi'an
The mosque was constructed during the Hongwu reign of the Ming dynasty, with further additions during the Qing dynasty. Previous religious complexes (Tanmingsi and Huihui Wanshansi) are known to have stood on the same site, dating to as early as the Tang dynasty. It covers an area of over 12,000 square meters, divided into five courtyards, 250m in length and 47m in wide with a well arranged layout. The Great Mosque is a main mosque for foreign Islam and state leaders from the Middle East or Arab countries. 

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During Tang dynasty, a lot of merchants bring the Islam to Xi'an, since Xi'an was the starting of the Silk Road, then they settled down, married and had children, they even began to learn local laws and custom, spreading Islam to the locals, for what, they built mosque for their pray. The mosque has had been renovated for several times in the following dynasties, then it became an architectural complex with Chinese architectural style and the largest one in China.

In 1956, the mosque was declared a Historical and Cultural Site Protected at the Shaanxi Province Level, in 1985, The Great Mosque listed in the UNESCO Islamic Heritage. It was promoted to a Major Historical and Cultural Site Protected at the National Level in 1988. At present, the mosque is still used as a place of worship by Chinese Muslims, primarily Hui people, 

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What to see in Great Mosque in Xi'an

The Structure of the Mosque
The mosque is a walled complex of five courtyards, with the prayer hall located in the fourth courtyard. Each courtyard contains a central monument, such as a gate, and is lined with greenery as well as subsidiary buildings. The mosque was constructed carving patterns to decorate instead of human or animals. All of buildings were decorated without any blank ones.

First Courtyard
It contains a wooden memorial archway, which can date back to 17 century. Nine meters in height, with flying corner eaves, painted rafters.

Second Courtyard
In the second courtyard, a stone arch stands in the center with two flower nurseries on both sides. These two steles features the calligrapher named Mi Fu in Song Dynasty. Calligraphy in both Chinese and Arabic writing appears throughout the complex, sometimes exhibiting a fusion of styles called Sini, referring to Arabic text written in Chinese-influenced script.

Xian_Attractions_Great_MosqueThird Courtyard
In the third courtyard, there are many steles from ancient times, as visitors enter this courtyard, they will see the Xingxin Tower, a place where Muslims come to attend prayer events. In the center of it, you can say a three-storey octagonal pagoda of fine structure called Retrospection Tower, called the Shengxinlou or “Examining the Heart Tower,” originally served as the mosque's minaret, used for the call to prayer.

Fourth Courtyard
In the center of the fourth courtyard, there is a Phoenix pavilion, the phoenix spreading its wings and ready to fly. Here contains the prayer Hall in the stone gate, the architecture is unique, the surrounding wall of which are covered with colored designs.

Transportation

Bus Routes:  No. 6, 7, 15, 29, 32, 43, 45, 203, 205, 215, 221, 222, 251, 252, 612, 618 or Tourist Line 8 (No. 610) and get off at Zhonglou Xi Station. Walk around 5 minutes to reach the mosque.
Metro Routes: Line 2 and get off at Zhonglou Station. Get out from Exit B. Walk towards west for around 6 minutes to reach there.

Information

Address: No. 30, Huajue Si Lane, Beilin District
Opening Time: 08:00-19:00
Admission Fee:
                     March-November: CNY 25
                     December-next February: CNY 15
                     (Muslims are free to enter)
Time for Visit: 1-2 Hours

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