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5 Reasons Why Muslim Travelers Will Love Xian

For Muslim travelers, it can often be difficult to find destinations that cater to their religious needs. From making sure that food is halal to having a mosque close by to do daily prayers, there is a lot to take into consideration when traveling as a Muslim. The city of Xi’an in China offers Muslim travelers a variety of options that perfectly suits their religious beliefs. As the capital of the Shaanxi Province in central China,  the city was once known as Chang’an (Eternal Peace), and home to the Zhou, Qin, Han and Tang dynasties' ruling houses. Today the large city is haven for tourist of all religions with stunning attractions, but also offers Muslim travelers what they need, including the following:

1. The Muslim Quarter

As the name implies, the Muslim Quarter is the hub of the Muslim community in Xi’an City. Located to the north of West Street, the quarter covers several blocks and is home to over 20,000 Muslims. Also known as Muslim Street, the quarter is a paved road with blue-gray flagstones and shaded by trees. There is plenty to do, see and eat in this area, especially as a Muslim traveler.

China 1.JPG

Source: Wikimedia Commons

2. The Mosques

Xian is home to about ten mosques that cover 12 000 square meters. A few of the more popular include the following:

  • Xi'an Great Mosque: The largest mosques in the city is the Xi'an Great Mosque. As the most important Islamic place in China, the mosque has become a famous tourist attraction in the Xian.

  • Daxuexi Lane Mosque: Located on the north side of Daxuexi Lane, this mosque is the second largest in the city and faces Xi'an Great Mosque.

  • Xian Xiaopiyuan Mosque: The Xiaopiyuan Mosque was first built in the late of Tang Dynasty making it one of the first mosques in Xi’an. The mosque combines the Chinese palace-style and Islamic temple-style of architecture making it unique, yet still beautiful. 

  • Xian Dapiyuan Mosque: The Dapiyuan Mosque was first built in the 9th year (1411) of Yongle, Qing Dynasty. The mosque is also home to four imams, 13 Xurdong and 5 Manla and the complex itself has 480 households of Muslim people.

Great_Mosque_of_Xi'an_(15).JPG

Source: Wikimedia Commons

3. The Food

One of the best places to grab a bite to eat is at Muslim Quarter. As mentioned above, this area of the city sells artworks and souvenirs, but what it is most famous for is its food. For authentic homemade Muslim food which is delicious, you’ll find it here. From crumbled unleavened bread in mutton stew (Yangrou Paomo) to fried rice with pickled Chinese cabbage and little capsicum your taste buds will be jubilant after your visit to the market. You’ll also find beef, mutton or lamb roasting away adding mouth-watering aromas to the air. One of the most popular street foods in the city is steamed stuffed bun of Jiasan which is a steamed stuffed bun stuffed with beef or mutton mixed with the soup decocted from the bones of sheep or cattle. This is a must-try for all visiting Muslim Quarter.

China 2.jpg

Source: 500px

4. Beiyuanmen Muslim Market

If you’re looking for more to eat, then head to Beiyuanmen Muslim Market. Located north of the Drum Tower, the market provides locals and tourists with halal food and various souvenirs. Beiyuanmen Muslim Street history tells the story of foreign diplomatic envoys and merchants living along this street. As they married and had children, the Muslim population in the area grew. Today, most of the inhabitants here are the descendants of those immigrants. The community is tight-knit and devout followers of Islam. The streets of this night market are lined with stores with men in white fezzes selling souvenirs, food, and artworks.


5. Sightseeing

Besides being a Muslim-friendly destination, the city of Xi’an also has an incredible amount of history, heritage, and ancient sites that have become tourist attractions. Here are a few of the sights that you need to see when you’re in Xi’an:

  • The Terracotta Army: Discovered on 29 March 1974 to the east of Xi’an, the Terracotta Army is a collection of terracotta sculptures depicting the armies of Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China.

  • Giant Wild Goose Pagoda: Built during in 652 during Tang Dynasty, this  Buddhist pagoda is located in southern Xi’an and originally had five stories.

  • The Stele Forest: Also known as the Xi'an Beilin Museum, this museum is home to steles and stone sculptures. The museum is housed in a former Confucian Temple and has been open since 1087.

China 4.jpg

Source: Wikimedia Commons

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About the author

Ji Guo is a former professional travel writer. He's started several businesses in China and was born in Tianjin. Graduated from Yale University.

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