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Architecture of Niujie Mosque

Niujie Mosque Index | Architecture | History
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The Niujie Mosque is a famous Islamic temple covering an area of approximately 6000 square meters. The mosque is a mixture of Islamic and Chinese cultures. The outside shows the Chinese influence while the inside decoration is rich in Islamic flavor. The Mosque, built of timber, protects some important cultural relics and tablets, such as the upright tablet of an emperor's decree proclaimed in 1694 during the Qing Dynasty.

Niujie Mosque consists of an observation tower, prayer hall, and minaret with a pavilion on each side. The observation tower is just behind the entrance. It was built and originally used for astronomical observations needed for drawing up the Islamic calendar.

The prayer hall, with its courtyard to the east, consists of five major areas. Altogether there are 42 rooms, of which the main part is The Prayer Hall taking up more than 600 square meters. The Hall can permit more than 1000 persons to pray at the same time and consists of three spacious enclosing corridors. There are also 18 posts forming 21 arches that support the Hall. Parts of Alcoran are carved on two of the arches. In the middle of the Hall is a tablet of scriptures written in letters of gold. The Prayer Hall goes by the name of Kiln Hall. At the back of the Hall is a hexagonal pavilion with a vault, which makes the Hall like a kiln, explaining the origin of this name. The kiln roof is a form of Chinese traditional architecture called Zaojing, which is also often found in the roofs of buildings in China. Usually, Zaojing is square or round. The Zaojing in the Prayer Hall is ornated with colorful engravings and drawings.

The minaret (calling tower), a two-storey obelisk in the centre of the courtyard, was originally built as a script depository. Later imams used it as a calling tower. When prayer time came, they ascended the tower and recited the Koran, and Muslims living in the vicinity came to listen. On the ground floor is a large copper cauldron, which was used to prepare communal meals.

To the southeast of the tower lie the tombs of two Muslims who came from the Middle East and preached in the Mosque. The tomb for Ahmad Burdani was built in 1320, and the one for Ali in 1283. Both came from ancient Persia. The tombstones bear Arabic inscriptions and have been set into a nearby wall.

In the imam' s library, there are Koran manuscripts and old wooden printing blocks. The mosque used to be a printing house as well.

At the south of the courtyard are the men's and women's prayer preparation bathrooms.
There are long-beaked kettles for the devout Muslims to use to wash their nostrils, ears, and mouths. It is considered sacrilegious to enter the mosque without cleaning oneself.

According to the renovation plan, besides the renovation of the existing major building inside the mosque, more facilities such as a chapel and a bath room for female Muslims, a relics exhibition hall and a foreign guests reception room will be built.


ChinaTravelKey can add Niujie Mosqure on the following itinerary:

BH-1. 3 nights 4 days Beijing tour BH-2. 4 nights 5 days Beijing tour
BH-3. 5 nights 6 days Beijing tour BH-4. 6 nights 7 days Beijing tour
BK-1. 2 days Beijing tour BK-2. 3 days Beijing tour
BK-3. 4 days Beijing tour BK-4. 5 days Beijing tour
BK-5. 6 days Beijing tour BK-6. 7 days Beijing tour
BX-1. Xingang Beijing 2 days (no hotel) BX-2. Xingang Beijing 2 days tour
BX-3. Xingang Beijing 4 days tour BST-1. Great Wall tour bus tour
BJCD-2. Beijing Chengde 6 days tour BJGL-1. Beijing Guilin Tour
BD-4. Badaling Wall+Ming Tomb BD-7. Mutianyu wall+Ming Tomb
BJSH-1. 5 days Beijing Shanghai Tour BJSH-2. 6 days Beijing Shanghai Tour
BJSH-3. Beijing Shanghai Suzhou Tour BJSH-4. 9 Days Beijing Shanghai Suzhou Hangzhou Tour
BJLH-1. Beijing Lhasa Tour BJXA-3. Beijing Xian 4 days tour
BJXA-5. Beijing Xian 9 days tour BJXA-4. Beijing Xian 7 days tour
BJXA-3. Beijing Xian 4 days tour


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