Niujie Mosque

Address: Niujie St. Xuanwu Dis.
Tel: +86-10-63532564
Website: None
Entrance Fee: 0

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The Niujie Mosque is the oldest and largest mosque in Beijing. It was first built in 996 and was reconstructed as well as enlarged under the Qing Emperor Kangxi (1622-1722). The mosque looks very similar to a Chinese temple in terms of architecture, although the interior design is influenced by Arabic art and culture with no statues, as is Muslim tradition. It occupies a site of over 6000 square meters and includes the prayer hall, the minaret, a six-cornered moon observatory tower, and two pavilions with stone steles. Both Chinese and Arabic inscriptions adorn the buildings.

Non-Muslim visitors cannot enter the prayer hall (which is usually fairly empty except on Fridays and during Muslim holidays), but can admire the architecture of the exteriors and look around the courtyards. A small courtyard on the south side contains the graves of two Persian imams who preached here in the 13th century. Nearby is a copper cauldron, used to prepare food.

Niu Jie (Ox Street) is a small street running north-south in the Muslim Quarter. The area around Niu Jie is home to around 40,000 Muslims of various ethnicities. It is lined with halal butchers and vendors selling fried dough rings, rice cakes and shaobang (muffins). It can act as a good introduction to Islamic culture in China, especially if you are unable to visit the largely Muslim provinces to the west of Beijing.

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