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Architecture of the Great Mosque

Built primarily in the Ming Dynasty when Chinese architectural elements were synthesized into mosque architecture, the mosque resembles a fifteenth century Buddhist temple with its single axis lined with courtyards and pavilions. The mosque occupies a narrow lot about 48 meters by 248 meters. Four successive courtyards, each with a signature pavilion, screen, or freestanding gateway, lead to the prayer hall located at the western end of the axis.
The first courtyard has an elaborate wooden arch 9 meters high dating from the 17th century standing opposite a huge screen wall decorated with brick carvings. At the center of the courtyard is an imposing wooden gateway, or pailou. This nine-meter high freestanding pailou is a four columned roofed structure buttressed on all sides by wooden props, anchored into stone bases.
In the second courtyard, separated from the first by a shallow roofed pavilion, stands a rectilinear stone pailou built to resemble a wooden structure. The area to the south of this courtyard was originally designated for Hui burial, although this practice never fully developed.
Through another roofed pavilion is the third courtyard, the Qing Xiu Dian, or "Place of Meditation".In the middle of the courtyard is the "Introspection Minaret," an octagonal pagoda with a triple roof of turquoise tiles. In the Imperial Hall in the third courtyard is the "Moon Tablet" with inscription in Arabic. The calendric records on it written by a late imam are of high value of the historical research on Islamism in Shaanxi province.
The third courtyard has a series of rooms along its north and south walls. On the southern side is the Official Reception Hall, in which the scripture copy of "The Koran" of the Ming Dynasty is well preserved. To the east of the hall is a room for Moslems to bathe before they pray.
In front of the entrance of the fourth courtyard is the ornamental hexagon Phoenix Pavilion. Built during the Qing Dynasty, the pavilion is said to resemble a phoenix with its outstretched wings and interrupts direct view to the prayer hall. On both sides of the pavilion are some side rooms.
In the south used to be the place to receive the officials who came to announce the edicts from the emperors. Now it serves as a gallery for inscribed tablets that record the history of the mosque. In the north preserved an old stone sundial and stone tablets with inscriptions about the mosque of the Tang and other dynasties.
The prayer hall, which is the focus of this ceremonial layout, is comprised of a porch and a great hall with a projecting qibla bay. The Hall with a triple roof of turquoise tiles on a wide platform dates from the Ming. It can hold 1000 believers and on its coffered ceilings are over 600 classical scriptures in colorful decorative patterns of grass and flowers. Six hundred polychrome panels with floral motifs and carved brackets decorate of the ceiling.

Xian Tour Routes Covers Great Mosque
XD-2. Xian City One Day Tour
XK-2. 3 Days Xian Tour
XK-6. Xian 4 Days Tour of Terracotta Warrior and Mt. Hua
XH-1. Xian 2 Days Private Tour of Terracotta Warriors
XH-2. Xian 3 Days Package Tour
XH-3. 4 Days Organized Xian Tour of Terracotta Warrior
XH-4. 4 Days Xian Tour of Terracotta Warrior and Qianling Mausoleum
XH-5. 4 Days Xian Private Tour of Terracotta Warrior and Famen Temple
XH-6. 4 Days Xian Tour of Terracotta Warrior and Mt. Huashan

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