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Niujie Mosque

Introducing Niujie Mosque
Niujie Mosque, located in the Guang' anmennei area in the southwestern section of the city, is the oldest and largest of the 80-odd mosques in Beijing. From the past to the present, Muslims come here to pray every day. Now Niujie area outside the mosque is the residential place for more than 13,000 Muslims in Beijing.

Niujie Mosque Fast Facts
• Chinese Name: Niujie Qingzhensi 牛街清真寺
• Best Time to Visit: All year around
• Recommended Visiting Hours: About 1 to 2 hours
• Things to Do: Photography, Muslim Cultural Study, Architecture
• Opening Hours: 08:00-16:00
• Entrance Fee: 10/person; Free for Muslims
• Address: No.88, Niujie Middle Road, Xicheng District, Beijing

What to expect at Niujie Mosque

When it was first built some thousand years ago, the architecture of Niujie Mosque was in pure Arabic style. During its many phases of reconstruction and renovation, however, elements of Chinese traditional architecture were adopted. Today, in terms of its structure and general layout, Islamic features still prevail.

Niujie Mosque was originally built by Nasruddin, the son of an Arabic priest who came to China to preach the Islamic faith in 996 (Northern Song Dynasty). Major renovation projects were carried out in 1442, during the time of Emperor Kangxi (1662-1722) and again after the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949 when the buildings were entirely repainted and redecorated.

Directly inside the front gate of Niujie Mosque stands a hexagonal structure known as the Moon-Watching tower. Every year at the beginning and ending of the fast serve the moon's waxing and waning so as to auspiciously fix the exact duration of the fast.

In front of the tower are a memorial archway and a screen wall covered with carved murals, which together form the main entrance of Niujie Mosque. Beyond it is the main hall where the congregation comes to pray. According to Islamic tradition, a Muslim in prayer must kneel down and prostrate himself in the direction of Mecca (in Beijing, to the west), which explains why the fagade of the main hall has an eastern aspect.

To the rear of the main hall is a group of small religious halls and stela pavilions designed in Islamic style. As the teaching of the Koran forbid the portrayal of human or animal forms, the designs and patterns in all of the decorations are composed of Arabic letters and geometrical patterns. Directly in the center of this section is the minaret, from which the muezzin calls the faithful for prayers five times a day, beginning at dawn.

In the innermost courtyard of the compound are a number of auxiliary buildings, including classrooms for religious training. In the southern part of the compound there is a very large bathhouse used for religious ablutions.

How to get to Niujie Mosque

By Metro
•Take Metro Line 4 or Line 7 and get off at Caishikou Station (Exit E).

By Bus
• Take bus 10, 48, 88, or 717 and get off at Niujie Libaisi (Niujie Mosque) Station.

Additional travel advice on Niujie Mosque
• Admittance to the Prayer Hall is limited to Muslims only.
• Some areas in it are not open to the public. Please refer to the information on the ticket.
• Please respect the Muslim traditions and customs in the Mosque.
• Please dress appropriately. Men and women should wear clothes with long sleeves and long pants. Don’t wear shorts.

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