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It’s hard not to notice the Great Mosque on a stroll of Dongguan Street, Xining. And with magnificent islamic architecture that combines together towers, a palace-like prayer hall, and a dazzling green Arabian-style dome, it’s hard not to walk past without being drawn in.

Built on a grand scale combining both Chinese traditional architectural art and Islamic architectural features, this is the biggest mosque in Qinghai Province, and one of the one of the four great mosques in Northwestern China.

Since the Mosque was built in 1380, it has become an important place of worship and assembly for Chinese Muslims. Boasting a history which spans more than 600 years, Dongguan Great Mosque is not only famous for its impressive architecture, but now also serves as a religious education center and as the highest Islamic education center in the province.

Dongguan Great Mosque Xining

Dongguan Great Mosque Xining

A Fascinating Experience in Qinghai

With its name “Xining Dongguan Great Mosque” shining at the top of an imposing entrance, a visit for those touring Qinghai is a fascinating experience.

About 7,000 people attend prayer activities every day, and the population rises to approximately 20,000 on Juma (a congregational prayer that Muslims hold every Friday, just after noon), and 200,000 on Islamic festivals. As long as you stay behind the main prayer assembly area they let you watch the proceedings, take photographs, and this offers a fascinating insight into Muslim culture.

“There is nothing like witnessing the sea of white skullcaps with family and friends exchanging warm greetings, eating, shopping in the market behind the Mosque, and eventually gathering in and spilling out around the Mosque for prayer.” – Brad J.

Interact With the Locals

If you speak a bit of Chinese, take the time to chat and interact with the Chinese Muslims you see there. They are incredibly friendly and happy to answer any questions about their experience or daily life in this part of China. As a non touristy city in China, locals are equally as fascinated by your experiences and daily life as a foreigner, especially as international tourists are somewhat of a novelty in this region.

Should you not speak Chinese, they are just as willing to engage in charades, allow you to take their photograph (ask first), and will likely whip our their iPhone and request a photo in return!

Since the Great Mosque has been reconstructed and expanded throughout different ages, it integrates various architectural styles with harmony and is a brilliant scenic spot in Xining. Don’t miss the food market in the Muslim district right next door.

A visit to Dongguan Great Mosque Xining offers a fascinating insight into Chinese Muslim culture.

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Megan is an Australian Journalist who has been travelling and blogging since 2007, with the main aim of inspiring others to embark on their own worldwide adventure. Her husband Mike is an American travel photographer, and together they have made the world their home.

Committed to bringing you the best in adventure travel from all around the globe, there is no mountain too high, and no fete too extreme! They haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on their list.

Follow their journey on Facebook, TwitterYouTube, Pinterest and Instagram.

    25 Comments

  1. What a beautiful Mosque. And so old! Had no idea that China had a mosque from the 14th century. That’s crazy. It just goes to show the diversity that exists in a country the size of China!

    • I was very impressed too! Was such an amazing experience to wander around and take in the different styles of architecture from throughout the ages. China really is a wonderfully diverse country and it does show :)

  2. I always think of China as such a secular country, so it’s fascinating to learn of this mosque and about Chinese Muslims. As an architecture-lover, I also really admire the lines the building.

    • As an architecture-lover you would adore China, Lillie! We spent time exploring the Qinghai region, and there were so many amazing temples and mosques which feature different styles from so many different dynasties throughout the ages. It was a real treat being able to witness them all first hand :)

  3. I had no idea a mosque of this size existed in China, nor did I realise that such a large population of Muslims would come together in one small area. Well, you learn something new every day! Looking forward to visiting China in the future.

    • I had no clue either until we visited as part of our Qinghai Tour – it truly blew me away, and was definitely one of the highlights of our stay :) I hope you have the chance to visit China soon! Feel free to hit us up via email for tips :)

  4. Wow. I didn’t even know this mosque existed It’s a gorgeous building. I can’t imagine what it must be like with 200,000 people there for worship. Incredible. Love your pictures of the men at worship there – such great smiles.

    • Thanks Skye! One of the highlights of the trip was interacting with the men that were there for worship. They were such warm and friendly people, and were just as fascinated by us as we were by them :)

  5. I love that you encouraged interaction despite the language barrier! They look so happy to have their photo taken :) What a beautiful building filled with happy, peaceful people.

    • Absolutely Mar – charades is my favorite icebreaker when overseas lol! The people of Qinghai in general were the warmest and friendliest people – it really made an impression on us and the locals were one of the highlights of our trip :)

  6. This place was not on my radar at all and it should be! This looks like an amazing place to visit. I am planning a trip to some of the major cities on the east coast in August. How did you get over to this part of China (flying, train…)?

  7. Nice write-up. I will add this to my list of things to do in China.

    • Thanks Vasudevan! Enjoy your time in China :)

  8. Such a unique find in a place filled with temples instead of mosques. I think mosques itself are beautiful not only in their architectural structure but their purpose as well. It must have been great getting to know the locals in the area and hearing their stories.

    • It really was! Our tour of Qinghai was full of so many amazing temples, that it really was unique when the chance came to visit a mosque. I agree with you that they are beautiful in both building and purpose. The locals were the friendliest, warmest and most peaceful people I have interacted with.

      We all had a really wonderful experience here :)

  9. I love trading photos with people I meet. Good to hear they whip out their phones for a photo, too!

    • Absolutely Jess! Lol it was a very mutual exchange! :)

  10. I had no idea about this. The mosque looks stunning and I love your pic with the local and the ones above :)

    • Really is such a stunning and special place – for both the architecture and the people who attend :)

  11. Oh one more attraction to add for China! :) Thank you.

    Loved your picture with the local.

    • Glad you enjoyed the post Nisha! The locals were so lovely, I have to put together a photo album of all of our shots with them!

  12. Hi Megg,

    I have a special interest about dongguan province.
    Happy to know that there is a beautiful mosque.
    Stunning picture.

    Regards,
    Abdul
    Dubai.U.A.E

    • Hi Abdul, I’m glad you enjoyed the post and our photos. You’ll really enjoy your time in Dongguan. Have a wonderful trip to China :)

  13. Never knew the details about this mosque.
    Thanks for writing about it, inspired by the Chinese Muslims friendly nature that how they allow you to take pictures and watch them while praying.

    • You’re welcome, I’m so glad you enjoyed the post, and that we could tell you a bit about Dongguan Great Mosque :) The local residents are so lovely, it’s a really fantastic experience!

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