Niujie Mosque in Beijing



The magnificient Niujie Mosque is famous worldwide and is a testimony of the ancienty of Islam presence in China. The fist time a mosque was built in the Niujie (“Beef Steet”) area was in 996, under the Liao northern dynasty in Beijing and it was built under the leadership of an Arabic scholar called Nasruddin.

Through the famous Silk Road, merchants travelled the world and ideas spread. Diplomats, merchants visited Beijing and sometimes decided to settle there. This first muslim Chinese presence was later reinforced when the Mongols seized the capital with many muslim soldiers among their troops.

The mosque was named as 礼拜寺 “Libaisi” by the emperor in 1474. In Chinese, the Mosque can nowadays either be called 牛街礼拜寺 Niujie Libaisi or 牛街清真寺 Niujie Qingzhensi.

The Mosque is located in Beijing’s Xuanwu District, at the southwest of the city centre.

It is the largest and oldest one in Beijing, with a 10,000 square meters surface area. Niujie in Xuanwu District, where the mosque is located, is the largest area inhabited by Muslims in Beijing.

Niujie Mosque is a valued part of China’s history. For westerners or people used to middle-east, arabic or african style mosques, it looks quite exotic since Muslims adopted Chinese temple building style when Islam spread inside China.


During the visit:

The mosque faces west towards Mecca. Buildings, the greater and lesser clearly distinguished are arranged along a central exis.

When you go inside the Niujie Mosque, after the entrance, you have the Worship Hall at your left, but access is forbidden if you are not muslim. The worship hall is 760 square meters large with classical arabic and chinese artistic decorations.

In front of the worship hall is the Minaret, originally named “Zunjingge” in 1068-1077. Since the mosque was destroyed by the Mongols at the beginning of the Yuan dynasty, the minaret and the whole mosque were rebuilt in 1496. This calling tower is also called “Xuanlilou” or “Huanlilou” for Imam to call the worshippers on al-Salat.

At heart, in your right, you have the Women’s Hall. It was built in 1922. The reconstruction was started from 2005 and completed in 2006.

Just behind the Minaret, there are “Imam Tombs”. It houses the Shaihai Tombs the final resting place of elders who came from the Arabian cultural area to lecture on Islam in the early years of the Yuan Dynasty. A stele by the graves is inscribed in Arabian script with the words “strength” and “presence”.



If you cross the area that leads towards the South Gate,

you have two exhibition rooms which explain the history of the Niujie Mosque.






   The moon observation tower,

   at the North of the Niujie Mosque area, was closed.






A little bit of history….

The mosque reflects a mixture of Islamic and Han Chinese cultural and architectural influences. From the outside, its architecture shows traditional Chinese influence and the inside has a blend of Islamic Calligraphy and Chinese design. The main prayer hall can hold more than 1000 worshipers, non-believers cannot enter. The mosque, built out of timber, is home to some important cultural relics and tablets such as the upright tablet of an emperor’s decree proclaimed in 1694 during the Qing Dynasty.

The local Muslim community constructed the mosque using traditional Chinese architecture, with the exception of the use of Arabic calligraphy in the interior. It was originally designed by Nazaruddin, the son of an imam. After it was destroyed by the armies of Genghis Khan in 1215 , the Mosque was rebuilt in 1443 in theMing Dynasty and significantly expanded in 1696 under the Qing Dynasty. During the Qing Dynasty, the neighbouring markets were known for Halal beef and mutton, even until today, the presence is still quite strong with Muslim grocery stores with Arabic sign along the road. Actually, because of the ancienty of the mosque, the name of the street itself has been infuenced: the Cow Street is the place you can find a lot of Halal beef meat and no pork, hence its name.

The mosque has undergone three renovations since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, respectively in 1955, 1979, 1996 and the last in 2005.






The prayers schedule changes every week,

for exemple, this week (the 4 of march), it was:





How to get there?

Take Subway line 10 Caishikou, exit D and walk near 10 minutes.

牛街18 Xicheng, Beijing



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