Xi'an Muslim Quarter

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The Xi'an Muslim Quarter, is a relatively large Muslim enclave in Xi’an City, China. The Xi'an Muslim Quarter is located inside the city wall of Xi'an and mainly consists the area bounded by the Xida Avenue, Beiyuan Gate, Hongbu Road, and Zaoci Street. Today, the quarter comprises four neighborhoods, Huajue Xiang, Hongbu Jie, Xuexi Xiang, and Sajin Qiao. According to demographic statistics in 2003, the Muslim population living in the quarter was 32,361, 49.8% of the total Muslim population in Xi'an city. In the past two decades, Xi'an Muslim Quarter has become a well-known tourism site which is famous for its culture and food.


Prayer hall of the Great Mosque of Xi'an

The history of the Xi'an Muslim Quarter can be traced back to the Tang Dynasty, when Muslim merchants came to and aggregated in Chang’an, today’s Xi'an, via the Silk Road. After that, from the Five Dynasty to the Song Dynasty, the Muslim population started to reside around Da Xuexi Street and Huajue Great Mosque. Later, in the Ming Dynasty, the town hall of Xi'an was located beside the drum tower, which was a traditional building used for timing, quite close to the quarter. This aggregated a large number of wealthy merchants and thus nurtured a commercial lifestyle mainly led by the Muslim inside the quarter. Following the Ming Dynasty, the "Three Mosque and Thirteen Blocks" pattern was form in the Qing Dynasty. Even though the Shan Gan Muslim Rebellion, which happened in the late Qing Dynasty involved and ruined a large number of Muslim neighborhoods in Northwestern China, Xi'an Muslim Quarter was not affected because of its high commercial status and its protected location inside the city wall. During the time of the People's Republic of China, the Middle Mosque and the West Mosque were built in 1919 and 1920, respectively, which further developed the quarter into a "Nine Mosques" pattern.

Later, with the founding of the People’s Republic of China, most of religious activities in the mosques ceased, especially during the Cultural Revolution. The mosques in the quarter were either turned into factories or occupied by other organizations. During this period, only the Great Mosque and Sajinqiao West Mosque were in use. Such condition was changed by the policy "Basic stand and policy concerning religious problems during the Socialist Period" released by the Communist Party of China Central Committee, allowing the closed or occupied mosques to reopen. Moreover, several new mosques were built based on the previous pattern, and the quarter was eventually developed into a "Twelve Mosques" pattern.



Most area of the Xi’an Muslim Quarter is connected by narrow roads, causing much traffic congestion. Moreover, the Xi'an Muslim Quarter lacks necessary municipal amenities such as parking lots, public restrooms, and sewage systems. In 2005, Xi’an municipal Government planned to redevelop the area around Sajinqiao, but eventually abandoned the scheme because of the unrealistic project proposal and the issue of historical architecture preservation, and thus only renewed the area around Xida Avenue and Da Maishi Street.[citation needed]


Food vendors in the Muslim quarter, Xi'an

The Muslim food in Xi'an can be traced back to the Tang dynasty. Later, developed its special characteristic of mainly using beef and mutton and complementing with pastry. Today, the Xi'an Muslim Quarter is famous for its traditional foods and cultural activities. The traditional foods consist of paomo, sour soup dumplings, soup with pepper, fried dough twist (mahua 麻花).


  • Qiang Ma, Inside and Outside The Xi'an Muslim Quarter: The Islamic Studies in the Process of Modern Urbanization of Xi'an. Beijing: China Social Sciences Press. Oct, 2011. ISBN 9787516101773
  • Honggang Xu, Xiaojuan Wan.National Historic District Protection and Tourism Development——Xi'an Muslim Quarter as An Example. Journal of North Nationalities University(Philosophy and Social Sciences Edition),2009(1):80.
  • Endless Delicious Food——Xi'an Muslim Quarter. Western network. 2013-11-05 [2014年4月16日]