Datong Grand Mosque is one of the two well-known ancient mosques in Shanxi Province. Located at Daxi Street in Datong city center, the mosque was originally built in 628 during Tang Dynasty (618-907), and then rebuilt during the reign period of Qing Emperor Qianlong in 1742. With a history of more than 1,200 years, the Grand Mosque is not only a symbol of civilization and progress of Datong's historical heritages, but also the witness of Datong's ethnic integration.
Structures of Datong Grand Mosque
The building complex of the mosque combines Chinese classical architectural style with Arabic classical architectural art together, making the mosque much exquisite and magnificent.
Datong Grand Mosque now has a main gate, a cross pavilion, a stone bridge and a worshipping hall. The main building is connected by four groups of halls. Among them, the pond, the arch bridge, the platform, the archway, and the stone tablet are the cultural relics built in the Ming and Qing dynasties.
The mosque also contains the precious historical objects, such as the objects rewarded by the Emperor Kangxi from Qing Dynasty, manuscripts and copies of the ancient Quran, and other precious classics. The stone inscription from Ming Dynasty already has a history of 470 years, which is the only stone inscription found in China both with Arabic and Chinese characters.
The entire Datong Grand Mosque has four gates in different shapes successively, which are sequentially set along the central axis of the mosque. Multiple courtyards are designed between each gate, to form a complete building complex. Each courtyard has its own unique functional requirements and artistic features. The tall and magnificent main gate was transformed by Muslims in 1936. The gate is now made of stone and bricks. Different parts of the gate are inlaid with exquisite Arabic and Chinese art stone carvings.
The main worship hall is the main area of the Great Mosque, with a convex shape. It consists of three parts: the front hall, the main hall and the back hall. These three parts all have ridged and unique roofs, which are connected together. This layout fully shows the characteristics of traditional Chinese architecture which focuses on the overall artistic image. The length of the hall is 28 meters and the width is 21 meters, with a usage area of 475 square meters. The main hall faces to the east, which is designed according to the Muslims’ traditions.