Xi’an and the Hui people …

The Great Mosque of Xi’an

It looks like a Chinese pavilion but it is actually the Great Mosque of Xi’an built in the 8th century and one of the oldest in China. Like many visitors I came to Xi’an to see the famous life size terracotta warriors made during the legendary reign of Qin Shi Huang first Emperor of China who united the country in the midst of the warring period of 1st century BC. But Xi’an one of China’s great ancient city is not only well preserved reputed especially for the amazing fortified walls as well as the magnificent Drum and Bell towers but also its delightful Muslim quarter – home to the Hui people. The Muslim quarter is laden with shops and food stalls with the people recognizable through their clothing. Most wear the traditional skull caps and the women with their scarves over their heads. Especially when night falls the streets are transformed into a blazing crowded world of budget style restaurants and food sellers offering traditional local Muslim snacks. But away from this busy and noisy area hidden among a small alley is the charming compound of the Great Mosque. Many visitors coming to Xi’an would probably bypass this place and head for the more famous attractions but this was too interesting for me to miss out. So I came early in the morning as to avoid the midday heat for a visit. It was a friendly welcome at the entrance of the great Mosque where visitors are asked to pay a small fee … The place feels like an oasis of tranquility. Set in a lovely garden the Great Mosque is constructed like a Chinese style building rather than the traditional Islamic domed structures and minarets. There is a school inside the compound where boys are placed to one side of the building and girls on the opposite side …

Attending the Koranic school (Madrasa) in the Great Mosque compound

By late afternoon time for prayer where a pageantry of the Hui community meets up in the prayer hall.

Preparing the evening prayer (maghrib) at the Great Mosque

And my eye caught this image …

And here are more images of the Great Mosque and the Hui Muslim community within the compound …

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19 replies »

    • Thank you … Actually I stayed hours waiting blending in with the people just to put them at ease in front of the camera and the natural lightning was perfect πŸ™‚

  1. Lovely shots…. we simply passed through Xi’an so only had the opportunity for the “Chinese” things. This looks like a really interesting part of the city. I read one of your comments above.. people can really get put off by the presence of a camera, especially if you’re a big white guy with it, like me πŸ™‚ Nice work.

    • Thank you for the nice comments. Yes this is indeed a unique place, a bit hidden and away from tourists routes and just a touch of Chines … And looking Asian it was much easier to blend in with locals and get these good shots πŸ™‚

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