Dongguan, also known as Dong Guan or East Gate, Grand Mosque was built during the reign of Emperor Hongwu (1368-1398) of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). The magnificent building thus has a history of more than 600 years.The mosque, which faces east, covers a total area of 13,602 square meters, with its eclectic construction style blending features of traditional Chinese architecture and medieval Islamic architecture with other international architectural influences. The mosque, destroyed in the ravages of war, was re-created in the late 19th century, renovated in 1914, enlarged in 1946, and finally revamped in 1998.
The best way to describe Dongguan Grand Mosque complex is to say that it is a large open square, or courtyard, with 4 large buildings, one on each side—north, south, east, and west—that more or less wall off the center square. This is not a typical Islamic mosque construction that can be seen, for example, in the Middle East, but there can be no doubt that there are enough Islamic elements of this mosque complex to identify it as a place of Islamic worship. It has the typical large center dome and the 2 towering minarets on either side, as well as a prayer hall that faces east, the symbolic orientation of Mecca.
The main entrance to the mosque complex has an added, facade-like, multi-storied, 3-sided structure which, besides serving as the new main entrance, also houses the large building’s many administrative facilities. The mosque complex also serves as a Koran school. The new main entrance is situated on the eastern side of the complex, with the prayer hall opposite the new main entrance, that is, on the western side of the large, open center square. On either side of this east-west axis, corresponding to a north-south axis, are located the educational facilities (classrooms, libraries, etc.) that make up the mosque’s Koran school, as well as other structures that are used for commercial as well as administrative purposes.
Covering an area of 11,940 square meters, Dongguan Mosque is built on a grand scale. Its style combines both Chinese traditional architectural art and Islamic architectural features. When traveling here, the first thing you can see is the elegant arched door on which is written 'Dongguan Mosque'. On either side of the front door stands the Xuanli Lou (Xuanli Pavilion). The Xuanli Lou is special as the place where the Imams invite people to pray. It is 8 meters high, and consists of three floors which are hexagonal in shape.
There is a square with an area of some 30,000 square meters. The prayer hall is the main building in Dongguan Mosque. It covers an area of 1,136 square meters. The whole prayer hall is resplendent and magnificent. It can hold more than 3,000 people at prayer at the same time. Since the Mosque was built, it has become an important place of worship and assembly for Muslims. When Islam's important festivals come round, tens of thousands of the Prophet's followers from every quarter come to participate in ceremonies and religious activities. On such occasions, the Mosque wears a festival mood.
Situated in Dongguan Street, Xining City, Dongguan Mosque is the biggest mosque in Qinghai Province. It was built in 1380, and now boasts a history of more than 600 years. The Mosque is not only famous for its magnificent architecture but also as a religious education center and as the highest learning institution of Islam.
Xining Travel Guide