Great Kashi Mosque
The Great Kashi Mosque, also called Aitigar Mosque, lies in Kashi City of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. It is a large-scale Islamic building and one of the biggest mosques in China.
The Great Kashi Mosque is also called Aitigar Mosque. Aitiga is a compound of Arabic and Persian, it means a festival service place.Etigar Mosque, located on the Public Square in the middle of the city, is the biggest in China occupying an area of 16,800 squaremeters. It is said to be a cemetery built by the Kashgar Emporer Shakesezi Mizhaerset in 1442 in commemoration to and to worship the souls of his deceased relatives. The temple inside was used for memorial ceremony and now attracts many prayers and religious followers. In 1538 Shakesezi's descendant Wubuliaerboke expanded the temple to accommodate larger groups of prayers. And there have been multiple expansion and refurbishment undergone to gradually form today's grand and majestic monument.
The mosque stretches 140 meters from north to south and 120 meters from west to east. The gate of the mosque was build of yellow bricks and the big gate building is 12 meters high. The side porch, are made with 15 vaulted wall caves. Beside the gate, there are brick cylinders, which are semi-inlaid in the wall. It is over 18 meters high.
The Great Mosque consists of church, religious doctrine hall, gate building, pool and other attached buildings. Behind the gate is the wide inner square, which connects with the roomy church and the religious doctrine hall.
"Etigar" in local language means a place for prayer service. The mosque has a light greenish color with delicately carved flowery patterns. The entrance of the Etigar Mosque was made into a 12-squaremeter archway, which is giant as tall as 17 meters but delicately decorated. For example, on top of the archway there ingeniously carved a crescent moon. At dawn, Islamic monks living in the temple would climb up and down the tower exactly 5 times and summon all Muslims to pray. There are 15 beautiful frescos along the walls of the archway. The clusters of temples stretch out 140 meters north to south, and 120 meters west to east.
Walking through the archway, there is a gigantic courtyard with a prayer's temple on one side and the 18-meter high scripture preaching hall on the other. Both were designed in typical Islamic styles that show off very well its unique architectural characteristics. The square-shaped roof of the prayer temple is sustained by 158 light bluish columns. The ceilings and each of the four corners were made of exquisite wood carvings and decorated with colorful paintings and patterns. During the prayer service, the Chief of the Islamic Religious Association will usually be in the preaching hall reading scriptures; and he will also teach people about the services and scriptures in open days. It is useful to note that shoes must be taken off before entering the halls irrespective social rankings.
In the verdant green courtyard, there is a pool surrounded by some pottery pots filled with water, which were used by believers for cleaning their bodies before the service. The church is 2600 square meters and very spacious. 158 carving posts supported the roof, the glaze ceiling were decorated by colorful designs and full of Islamic characteristics.
At daybreak everyday, the Imam will stand on the little tower, which is on the top of the cylinder calling loudly to wake up the Islam who are in their dreams to pray. Day in and day out, it goes on just like this.
Every Friday is "Zhuma Day". The Islam inside and outside the Kashi City will gather in the Great Mosque and hold the magnificent service. The number of people can reach 100,000 or more.
You can see thousands of Islam praying, kneeling and worship superciliously in Aitigar Mosque either in the service of every morning or the service every Friday. The magnificent service is very attractive. Many tourists who have visited the Mosque said that only when you were personally on the scene, you could really feel the solemn, devout and respectable religious feeling. If you take part in the process of the service ritual according to the custom and the rule of the mosque, your travel is of great value.
In AD1442, Shakesimier, the governor of Kashiger, came here and built a mosque in order to worship Allah and comfort the departed spirit of their relatives and friends. After generations of rebuilding and enlarging, it formed the current scale mosque. The outside its appearance is grand and solemn.
On the service day and all kinds of festival, thousands of the Islam took part in the religious activities in the mosque and the square inside and outside of the door. The Imam read the Koran in a loud voice and led the devout Islam to worship their Ala in a very solemn atmosphere.
Each year, "the Rouzi Festival" and "Guerbang Festival "are Islamic grand meeting.
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