The Great Mosque of Xi’an is the largest and one of the best preserved mosques of ancient China. First construction dating as far back as the 700s AD, the structure which is visible today was initiated in the late 14th century during the Ming Dynasty. A fusion of Chinese and Arabian architectural and design styles, this mosque has been the main identity of the Muslim community in Xi’an for over a millennium.
The layout of the structure is similar to that of a conventional Chinese temple with consecutive courtyards on one axis. But the pagodas and pavilions have been adopted to meet the needs of the Islamic religion. And unlike a typical temple the main axis of the Mosque runs from east to west in a manner that the structure itself faces Mecca. Five consecutive courtyards, each with its unique design style, lead down to the western end where the prayer hall is located.
Visitors to the Grand Mosque of Xi’an can look out for the tallest tower of the compound, which rises well over ten meters, at the third courtyard. Functioning both as a pavilion for moon watching and as a minaret this tower boasts a typical Chinese style exterior with blue glazed tile designs adorned with dragon heads, whereas the interior boasts an intricately carved ceiling which is painted with bright lotus flowers.
The other interesting courtyard of the complex is the fourth which is also known as the Phoenix Pavilion. It is named so for its close resemblance to the mythological bird. The interior in this section boasts a wooden ceiling of Islamic style and a roofline which is more of Chinese style.
The main section is the prayer hall. Spread across 1,270 square metres, this section consists of three parts, a porch, a hall and an iwan. Each part boasts its own separate roof of Chinese style and the hall features intricate inscriptions from the Holy Qur’an and Bas-relief woodwork.
For Xian accommodation options travellers can search the WWW. Most of the luxury hotels, budget hotels and serviced apartments Xian, have prominent online presence making it easy for reservation making. For easy access to the attractions of this beautiful city you may try the Citadines Central Xi’an.