Why is the Great Mosque special?
The Great Mosque of Xi'an is a tranquil and historic mosque that has served Xi'an's Muslim community for more than a millennium. The largest and best preserved of the ancient mosques of China, its buildings are a fascinating fusion of Chinese and Arabian styles.
Great Mosque Highlights
The buildings' Islamic function becomes clear on closer inspection, with the usual figurative decoration mostly replaced by Arabic and Chinese calligraphy. The complex is aligned on an east-west axis, facing Mecca.
Pavilion For Introspection (Xing Xin Ting)
Pavilion for Introspection rises over ten meters tall, the octagonal brick tower consists of three stories separated by eaves and enveloped in wooden balconies.
It is designed in traditional Chinese style: the exterior is decorated with blue glazed tiles and dragon heads. Inside, the carved ceiling is brightly painted with lotus flowers.
Phoenix Pavilion (Feng Hua Ting)
In front of the prayer hall stands the Feng Hua Ting or Phoenix Pavilion. Dating from the Qing Dynasty, it is named for its resemblance to a phoenix with its outstretched wings. The Chinese-style roofline conceals an Islamic-style wooden cupola that covers the central space. Lecture halls flank the courtyard.
The prayer hall, which is the focus of these mosque complexes, occupies 1,270 square meters. It is divided into three sections: a porch, great hall, and projecting qibla bay (iwan), each with a separate roof. The prayer hall is beautifully decorated with bas-relief woodwork and Quranic inscriptions.