Mosques in China

Drum Tower in Xi’an

So, I’m back in Shanghai. On Saturday I am going to return to Germany. But before that, a few more posts about China.

Before visiting Beijing, Philipp and I went to Xi’an, a city in the middle of China. The climate is extremely dry and desert-like already, leaving Xi’an with yellow-grey dust and a very dry, sometimes cold atmosphere. Xi’an is especially famous for the Terracotta Warriors. (But actually, you have to drive about an hour by car to get to this amazing site. I definitely recommend visiting this place, it is indeed very impressive.)

What I like most about travelling are the little surprises. Of course it’s always cool to visit the hot spots, the places that are very well-known for a particular monument, dish or landscape. The cooler thing is, however, visiting sites which a city or a country is not known for.

Like mosques in China. This country has a lot of ethnic minorities, which isn’t surprising, regarding China’s geographic size. So there are some ethnic groups with Islam as their religion.

Xian has a relatively well-known “Muslim road”, an area with a special feel to it. I’ve never been to any country in the near/middle east, but this is how I imagine a bazaar to be. 

So we tried to get to the mosque of Xi’an. We knew where it was, approximately, but simply couldn’t find it. After one or two hours of circling around the area with drum tower and Muslim road, we finally found an old, almost unreadable sign inside the fake products bazaar showing the way to the mosque.

Muslim man with typical headdress in the front

Visiting the mosque was a true delight. After all the dust, the dirt and the noise, the yard inside soothed our minds. It was peaceful; birds were singing (rare in China), magnolias were still in bloom and trees started to unfold their leaves. The architecture seems to be rather Chinese than Arab, but the yard inside felt more like an oriental garden than a Chinese one.

And even better: There were hardly any tourists here. The Chinese don’t seem to care much about the Muslim culture in their country, which was fortunate for us. It was nice and quiet.

Two oriental looking guys greeted some Chinese Muslims inside with a friendly “salam” and a handshake. Ah, globalisation...

PS: Unfortunately my pictures don’t live up to the beauty and magic of this place, but trust me: I enjoyed it very much.

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