Originally built during the Tang Dynasty, Huaisheng Mosque is believed to be the oldest surviving mosque in China. According to an ancient manuscript, it was built by a Muslim missionary, Abu Wangus, who was thought to be an uncle of the prophet Mohammed. The structure's 108-foot (32.9-meter) freestanding minaret is a local landmark.
The mosque and its minaret meld traditional Tang Dynasty and Arabic architectural characteristics. Those who climb to the top of the minaret, once used as a beacon for boats on the Pearl River, will be rewarded with spectacular views. In addition to the minaret, non-Muslim travelers can also visit the Ming Dynasty Moon Tower, gardens, and exhibition hall, though you may need to visit as part of a tour group. Only Muslims may visit the main prayer hall.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Huaisheng Mosque is a must-visit for spiritual travelers, architecture buffs, and all first-time visitors to Guangzhou.
- Dress modestly, including a headscarf for women, as this is an active place of worship.
- Allow 30 minutes to an hour to explore the mosque grounds.
How to Get There
Take the Guangzhou metro (Line 1) to Ximenkou Station and leave through Exit B. Several bus lines also stop at the nearby Zhongshan Liu Lu stop.
When to Get There
The mosque is open daily throughout the year, but it can get busy during Muslim and Chinese national holidays.
History of the Mosque
An ancient Chinese manuscript says that the Huaisheng Mosque was built by a Muslim missionary, Abu Wangus, on the first mission to China, sometime in the 630s. The mosque was destroyed by fire and rebuilt in 1350 and again in 1695. Today it remains a popular Muslim pilgrimage site and serves as a memorial to Abu Wangus.