Dongguang Mosque (Qingzhen Dasi)

Admission:

RMB 25

Hours:

8:00am to 8:00pm

How to get there:

Located at 25 Dongguan Dajie, the mosque can easily be reached by taxi. It shouldn't cost you more than RMB 5 from pretty much anywhere in the city.

Xining's premier Islamic education center and the largest mosque in Qinghai Province, the Dongguang mosque, built in 1380, is a pleasant spot for a stroll, some people-watching (especially just before or after prayer times) and a taste of China's Muslim life. 

Though casual visitors generally cannot enter the main building, the grounds are appealing and the friendly locals usually up for a chat. The architecture combines Muslim and Chinese features in a fascinating fashion, even if the overall fusion is a bit awkward, as if reflective of unresolved incongruities between traditional Han and Central Asian Islamic cultural characteristics.

The mosque and surrounding area change during Islamic festivals, when thousands of worshippers assemble to celebrate. Eid, the festival breaking the fast at the end of Ramadan, is easily one of the best times to visit. It fell on September 20 in 2009, but due to its relationship the Islamic lunar calendar, it falls at different times on the standard calendar each year.

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