Immersing In The Greatness Of The Great Mosque

After our visit to the Small Wild Goose Pagoda we returned to Xi’an’s city centre and made our way to the Great Mosque.

The Great Mosque is one of the oldest, largest and best-preserved Islamic mosques in China and its location is northwest of the Drum Tower (Gu Lou) on Huajue Lane – an easy place to find on the local tourist map.

The Great Mosque is definitely worth visiting if you are going to spend anytime in Xi’an.  The centuries-old mosque (circa 724AD) has some wonderful history and the unique mix of architecture (traditional Muslim and Chinese styles in the buildings) is stunning.

We were fortunate enough to arrive at the mosque just as prayer time was commencing.  The presence of dedicated worshippers and the sound of beautiful chanting made the whole mosque area come alive.

History suggests that Islam was introduced into Northwest China by Arab merchants and travelers from Persia and Afghanistan during the mid-7th century. Some of the travelers settled down in China and married women of Han nationality.  Descendants of these marriages became the Muslims of today.

Mosques throughout China were built to honor the role Muslims played in the unification of China during the Yuan and Ming Dynasties and the Great Mosque is obviously one of the most special of these houses of worship.

The Princess and I soaked up the calmness that was very much present inside the mosque walls and we enjoyed the freedom to take photos and video as we walked around the complex. Tourists and locals alike honoured the significance of this ancient place of worship and noise levels were kept low.

The Great Mosque is a must see for anyone visiting Xi’an.  Take a couple of hours to immerse yourself in the beauty and history of this ancient complex and, if you can arrange it, make sure you visit coincides with prayer time.

Footnote:  After you leave the mosque, turn left and walk about 5 metres.  On the right you will find Jessica’s coffee shop.  Jessica, the owner, speaks excellent English and she is the perfect host.  Jessica was very generous with her time and gave us some wonderful tips on what to see and where to eat in Xi’an.  Oh, her coffee and walnut biscuits are excellent too!

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