11 February 2009

Great Mosque

It seems odd to be talking about a mosque in China, doesn't it? I mean heck, we couldn't find Catholic churches where we went (although I expect that was more only because no one knew where they were); but a mosque? No problem! Well I did mention that there is a Muslim quarter in Xi'an.

Built in the Tang dynasty (685-762), the Great Mosque remains both a working mosque and a popular tourist attraction in the heart of the Muslim quarter hutong. Unlike most mosques in Middle Eastern or Arab countries, the Great Mosque of Xi'an is completely Chinese in its construction and architectural style, except for some Arabic lettering and decorations, for the mosque has neither domes nor traditional-style minarets.

Half the fun of the mosque was finding the blasted thing!! It is buried so deeply in the twisting allies of the hutong that it took us several passes through the quarter to find it. Occasionally there would be a teasing blue sign saying Great Mosque with an arrow pointing in one direction or another; but the signs were so small and high up that they were hard to spot. When we finally did find it I was amazed that we'd missed it as the entrance sits in an opening in the blood bath market we'd already walked through a couple times at that point.

My camera died while we were here (pout!) but Lauren got some good pictures. All the black and whites are hers.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

These pictures are so beautiful and the Mosque is amazing!!!! I loved reading about it- Elena