china edition


Niujie Temple

The Islamic faith was introduced to China in the Tang dynasty and the oldest and largest mosque in Beijing, the Niujie Mosque, is located in the center of the city's Muslim district. The mosque was built in 966 during the Liao dynasty by Nazruddin, son of an Arab priest and it was styled after a Buddhist temple. It is the biggest and oldest mosque in Beijing. The mosque was subsequently renovated under emperor Kangxi (1622-1722).

Behind the entrance of the mosque is the hexagonal Tower for Observing the Moon (wangyuelou) and it is here that special Muslim rites are performed. Behind this structure is the Main Hall of Prayer where religious ceremonies and prayers are offered. This building faces west towards Mecca and is decorated in bright red and gold.

The Mosque is an important center for the study of the Islamic faith and operates a Koran school. Important relics can also be found here including 2 tombstones inscribed in Arabic that date back to approximately 1280 and a stone tablet with notes on the mosque written in Arabic and Chinese.