Category: Historical Attractions
Address: 18 Niujie Street, Xuanwu District, Beijing
Open Time: Daily 9:00am - 4:00pm
Entrance fee: 10 Yuan/p.p
Introduction of Beijing Niujie Mosque
Niujie Mosque is the most historical and majestic mosque in Beijing, It was first built in 996 with a long history that stretches back over a thousand years, in which time it has undergone numerous refits and extensions, and has greeted Muslims from all over the world to worship.
The mosque covers an area of over 6000 square meters, and is structurally based on traditional Chinese wooden palaces, yet adopts a typical Arabic-style of decoration. There are no human or animal figures among these decorations as these are considered taboo in Islam.
Unlike south-facing Buddhist temples, the mosque points towards Mekka, the holy land of Islam in the west. The layout of the mosque is symmetrical and compact. The entrance gate is fronted by a large wall with a white marble pedestal, which stretches for around 40 meters. A series of relief sculptures sit on the wall, depicting images of happiness and fortune. After passing through the entrance gate, visitors are faced by the Watching Moon Tower; a hexagonal, two-storied structure, reaching over 10 meters tall and housed under a golden-glazed roof. The tower is so named because it was used by the imam to observe the position of the moon to determine times for fasting.
Walking along the path that runs beside the tower, visitors eventually reach the Prayer Hall - the most important building in the mosque. It is a place only open to Muslims. Covering an area of 600 square meters, the hall has the capacity for a few thousand worshippers. The hall's arched gate is decorated with script from the Koran and poems of worship. Some of the text is written in the ancient Arabic characters of Al-Kufi, which is rarely seen in China. The room is also adorned with various paintings of flowers, strings of glass beads and colored glass, which contribute to the hall's air of great importance and holiness.
Outside of the Prayer Hall, two stele pavilions sit either side of the hall. In each of them stands a stone tablet details the history of the mosque. To the southeast of the hall, two black-brick graves of Shaykhs lie under a dense collection of cypress trees. Although hundreds of years old, the epigraphs on the gravestones remain clearly readable and are of great importance to research into the history of Islam in China.
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