The early Muslims in China came from what was known at Xiyu, or 'the west', areas usually identified as Arabia or Persia. These people were much different from the Chinese in terms of their language, culture and physical appearance. Like other foreigners in China, they were labeled 'foreign sojourners'. Islam was first introduced by Arab merchants during the Tang dynasty, and flourished during the Yuan (1279-1368). The Muslims gradually became concentrated in the northwestern part of the walled city, where they remain to this day. The community now numbers more than 60,000, or about one percent of the city's population. The residents, whose families have lived here for hundreds of years, are proud of their religion. They strongly identify with their mosque, frequently introducing themselves as 'belonging' to this or that mosque. This is because the mosques play a key role in the daily lives of the Hui, or Muslims, filling a variety of spiritual and secular needs.
There were said to be 14 mosques open before the Cultural Revolution put a stop to Muslim privileges. But today, the community is regaining lost ground, and there are ten active mosques in the quarter, and chantlike Arabic calls can be heard throughout the area. All of the mosques have loudspeakers used to call people to prayer five times a day, a reminder that the residents' lives are also guided by Islamic time. Islam demands that each of the five daily prayer worships be preceded by a ritual washing of the hands, feet, face, nose, mouth, eyes and ears, and the mosques all provide ablution rooms with running water for washing. Although the Muslims generally work on Fridays, they do observe Ramadan, the month of fasting from sunrise to sunset. The men can often be distinguished from the Han Chinese by their white caps and long beards.
Moslem Street is the hub of the Moslem community in Xian City, Shaanxi Province. Located beside the Drum Tower, it is about 500 meters (about 547 yards) long from south to north. This street is paved with dark colored stone with green trees providing heavy shade during summer; the buildings on both sides of the street are modeled on the styles of both the Ming (1368-1644) and the Qing Dynasties (1644-1911). Some of the constructions are restaurants; while others are stores. But here there is one thing in common: the owners are all Moslems.
Moslem Street has a long history. It is said that in olden days, foreign diplomatic envoys and merchants lived here then they married and had children, so gradually the population increased. Today, most of the inhabitants of Moslem Street are the descendants of those immigrants. All the Moslems here are the pious and devout followers of Islam so they form a tight nit community, which maintains its own culture and traditions to this day even in such a modern society dominated by the Han people. People here are very familiar with each other because they were companions when they were children and then they grew to adults together and still then one after another they got married and had their own children. As time goes on, definitely they will become older and older or even pass by together.
Walking along this twisted, narrow street which is aligned with stores on both sides, you can see that Moslem men with white hats sit inside the stores and talk leisurely with each other. In front of the doors of some stores, old men with white beards sit on the cane chairs enjoying the tender touch of the sun and having fun with the little children running along the street. The main goods of these stores are authentic hand-making Moslem food which tastes very good. While still there are small stores selling the special local products of Shaanxi Province and yet others provide you with exquisite souvenirs.
Pictures of Muslim Street in Xian
The Muslim Street is called"Huimin Jie"in Chinese, is a fantastic place to wonder. All shops and restaurants in the street are operated by Muslims. The stalls lines the narrow alleys sell almost everything you can expect. There are a number of stalls selling small items of aircrafts. If you are good at bargaining, you can get some things at a really cheap price.
The restaurants in the streets are all Muslim ones, and variety of Muslim food and snacks can be tried here, including the locals' favorite ones, roasted beef, roasted fish, and pancakes. Food served is diverse, complex but are very cheap.
The Muslim street at night is best. If facing North and looking at the Bell Tower (center of the street) the street to take to the Muslim Street is at "9 O'clock" position...due west, then taking a quick right and under a small bridge, (which is actually a drum tower, though not nearly as noticeable as the bell tower). You will know you are there with the smell of roasting lamb, and signs written in green arabic writing (green is the muslim "color")
Muslim Street while touristy, is also local. A great place to stroll without traffic and see traditional Muslim culture alive and well in China. Fun day or night. The food is authentic and is a great place to have lunch or dinner. Some interesting shopping. Certainly a great place for photographers. Not to be missed, Muslim Street is one of Xian's major attractions.
The Muslim Quarter is also home to a true hidden gem. With a small, unassuming doorway on the main street, it simply doesn’t attract the tourist traffic that it really deserves. Towards the north end of the main street, on the left, is a door leading to the grounds of a home once owned by a wealthy local family (“Gao Jia Da Yuan”). Many of the buildings and their original architecture are well preserved, and are open to the public. Inside, weary travellers can rest their feet for a while as they partake in a Chinese tea ceremony, watch a traditional puppet show, and admire the artwork and original antique furnishings on display, lit in the evening by traditional red paper lanterns.
What to taste
It is stated that once you have been to Moslem Street, you won't feel regretted for the Xi'an snacks. Try local delicacies at the street where traditional Chinese buildings line the street and offer a smorgasbord of Moslem fare.
Pancake in Mutton Soup (Yangrou Paomo) is a very distinctive snack of Xi'an, and is extremely delicious. Shredded pancakes in a mutton soup are a local Moslem delicacy that warms the stomach.
Fried rice with pickled Chinese cabbage and little capsicum is extremely tasty. And it is a real enjoyment for you to eat it on a hot summer's day.
Roast beef, mutton or lamb is another snack that can make your mouth water. After broiling on a charcoal fire with some flavorings on the meat, it is ready for you to enjoy.
While the most famous snack on this street is the steamed stuffed bun of Jiasan. The main ingredients of the steamed stuffed bun here are beef or mutton mixed with the soup decocted from the bones of sheep or cattle.
There are a great many other snacks to be found along this street, such as preserved meat, casserole, various noodles, and so on. They are waiting for you to enjoy.
There are also fruit pies made with persimmon here which are considered as the unique refreshment in Xi'an. These pies take the bright red, glittering and translucent persimmons from the Lintong District of Xi'an City, Shaanxi Province as the basic ingredients.
When making the pies, firstly people will get rid of the skin of the persimmons, pounding the flesh, mixing it with flour, then putting the sweet-scented osmanthus and white sugar inside as the stuffing, then frying them in oil until they are cooked. When eating them, you will feel savory, sweet and soft.
||0:00 to 24:00 |
Time for a Visit:
6, 7,29, 32, 300, 400, 401, 611.608,600,215.600