The Niujie Mosque also known as Cow Street Mosque (Chinese: 牛街清真寺; pinyin: niújiē qīngzhēnsì; literally “Cow Street Mosque”) is the oldest mosque in Beijing, China. It was first built in 996 and was reconstructed as well as enlarged under the Qing Emperor Kangxi (1622-1722).
The Mosque is located in Beijing’s Xuanwu District, the spiritual centre for the 10,000 Muslims living in the vicinity and it is the biggest and oldest one in Beijing. Niujie in Xuanwu District, where the mosque is located, is the largest area inhabited by Muslims in Beijing.
The Niujie Mosque covers an area of approximately 6000 square meters. The mosque is a mixture of Islamic and Chinese cultures. From the outside, its architecture shows traditional Chinese influence while the inside has mostly Islamic decorations. The mosque, built out of timber, is home to some important cultural relics and tablets such as the upright tablet of an emperor’s decree proclaimed in 1694 during the Qing Dynasty.
The Niujie Mosque, the largest of all the mosques in Beijing, was first built in 996 during the Liao Dynasty (916-1125). The local Muslim community was forbidden from constructing the mosque in a style other than traditional Chinese architecture, with the exception that the use of Arabic calligraphy was allowed. It was rebuilt in 1442 in the Ming Dynasty and expanded in 1696 under the Qing Dynasty. It is now one of the major mosques in north China.
The mosque has undergone three renovations since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, respectively in 1955, 1979 and 1996.