Located in Ox Street near Guang’an Gate, Ox Street Mosque is the longest and the most magnificent ancient mosque in Beijing. Firstly built in the Northern Song Dynasty, Ox Street Mosque got its name in the Ming Dynasty. It is largely renovated during Emperor Kangxi period in the Qing Dynasty.
And a lot of Muslims head to worship in Ox Street Mosque which has a more than 1000 years old history. It is not only a holy mosque to worship, but also a great place to know Islam culture and its development in China. The Ox Street Mosque is a popular Islam destination to visit in Beijing.
Nowadays, the architectures that visitors see are well-preserved ancient buildings in the Qing Dynasty. Ox Street Mosque is a typical mosque adapted with Han People’s traditional architecture style. The main buildings consist of the Prayer Hall (Libai Hall), Bangge Tower, Watching Moon Tower (Wangyue Tower) and Stele Pavilion.
Ox Street Mosque is typical Mosque which is facing west where the holy Mekka locates in. Based on traditional Chinese wooden palace architectures, it covers an area of more than 6000 square meters. With a symmetrical and compact layout, it has a typical Arabic-style of decoration such as plants and flower taboos. There are no human or animal figures as they are not the taboos for Islam. And there are well-preserved Arabic manuscripts and woodcarvings of Koran and incense burner of the Qing Dynasty.
The Prayer Hall
The most representative building in the Ox Street Mosque is the Prayer Hall. Unfortunately, it is only open to the Muslims at this moment. Occupying an area of 600 square meters, the Prayer Hall has a capacity of hundreds of worshippers. The gate of the Prayer Hall is decorated with scripts from the Koran and worship poems.
Travelers can see some scripts and poems are written in the ancient Arabic characters of Al-Kufi which is rare in China. With a large number of flower paintings, glass beads and colorful glass decorations, the Prayer Hall has a holy and solemn atmosphere.
Watching Moon Tower
With a 2 stories, Watching Moon Tower has a more than 10 meters height and a golden-glazed roof. It got the name as it was the tower for Islam’ fasting by observing position of the moon.
Bangge Tower is a square pavilion situated in front of the Prayer Hall. Firstly built in the Song Dynasty, it is used to report the time for Islam worshipers before prayer ceremonies, so it is also called Xuanli Tower or Huanxing Tower (Rouse Tower).
Located at sides of platform in front of the Prayer Hall, there are some steles carved in the Ming and Qing Dynasties. In addition, travelers can also see two grave tombs whose owners are the Islamic presbyter from the Arab countries during the Yuan Dynasty in the Ox Street Mosque. With a long history, the steles in Arabic characters are vigorous and rare in China.
Tips: Travelers need to dress properly excluding shorts and slippers. The Prayer Hall is only open to Muslims and some other areas might not open to the public. So travelers need to read the information on the tickets carefully.