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Great Mosque

The Great mosque is the focus of more than 30,000 Chinese Muslims, Hui in Chinese, of Xi'an. They are always distinguishing them from Han Chinese with the obvious beards and white caps. The Great Mosque is one of the oldest, largest and well-preserved Islamic mosques in China.
The Mosque is located on Huajue Lane to the northwest of the Drum Tower in Xi'an, far apart with the other Mosque in the Da Xue Xi Lane. Due to its locations, it is also called th eGreat Eastern Mosque.

In accordance with the record inscribed on the stone tablet, we were informed that time for the Mosque's construction could be traced back to the first year of the Tian Bao reign under the seventh Emperor Li Longji of the Tang Dynasty, by which some 1,200 years has passed. During the following years, it had been renovated and expanded on several occasions in the Song, Yuan, and particularly Ming, Qing Dynasties. The present layout dates from the 14th century.

The reason why such kind of temple would be appearing in China could arouse questions to most people. In ancient China about the mid-7th century, some Arab merchants and travelers from Persia and Afghanistan had settled down in China and got married with women of Han Nationality. It was also an important process in introducing Islam into the Northwest China. Moreover, their descendants became Muslim of today. Beside, the Mosque buildings as well be a kind of commemorator to the Muslim for their contribution to the unifications of China.

The architecture is a particular design of mixed architecture-traditional Muslim and Chinese style, with eaved roofs of turquoise tills and walls of decoratively carved bricks. It covers an area of over 12,000 square meters with totally four separate courtyards. The whole layout is 250 meters long and 47 meters wide. And it's incredibly be well escaped from damaging during the Cultural Revolution, exists the present compact group of harmonious, solemn and respectable building decorated with tower and pavilions. Plus the ancient tree, ornate arches and stone steles, all add up to an atmosphere of serenity.

Let's say the fourth one first, know as the most important place, inside of which centered the Pavilion of The Only God. The pavilion in a phoenix-shape with spreading wings that ready to dance, which owe another name "Phoenix Pavilion". As the principle composition, it contains the Prayer Hall, the surrounding walls of which are covered with colored designs. Behind the hall in south is the tablet corridor in which are exhibited stone tablet bearing the record of reconstructions and renovations of the Great Mosque. A Chinese flowering crabapple shaped fish pool with fountain in the center is right after the Pavilion Of The Only God. The spreading water beads and rainbow presented by the fountain give visitors another view.
Entering the stone gate, stepping on the spacious platform, the Main Worship Hall is right in front of you, which takes up about 1,300 square meters accommodating some 1,000 for worship at one time.
The third courtyard is stele storage hall and with the Xingxin Tower inside, where Muslims attend prayer service. As for the second courtyard, a stone arch stands with two steles with calligraphy scripts engraved on. One is from Mi Fu of the Song Dynasty and the other is Dong Qichang of the Ming Dynasty, both of which had be considered to be great treasure in the art of handwriting. The very enterance of the Mosque is the five-roomed house with hanging vertical plaque with chsrscters of "Qing Zhen Si" only.

Nowadays, the Great Mosque still receives as many as 500 worshippers for daily praying. So that it is only open to visitors from 8:00 am to 7:30 pm, and is closed to non-Mulims during prayer period.


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