History of Islam in Shanghai

4/24/2017 eliza_ Sights Shanghai 808

Shanghai has had a Muslim presence since as early as the late Song Dynasty and early Yuan Dynasty (1341-1868). Muslim officers and soldiers of the Yuan army brought their families and settled permanently in Songjiang, Jinshanwei and Jiading district. Two thousand Muslims of the Hui community settled permanently in Jinshanwei to strengthen the coastal areas. Now the Hui community is Shanghai's most populous ethnic minority. 


In a city of over twenty million, there are approximately 70,000 Muslims living in Shanghai. As the number of Muslims grew, so did the number of mosques. Shanghai's first mosque is the Songjiang mosque. Other major mosques emerged such as the Xiaotaoyuan Mosque, Huxi Mosque, Pudong Mosque, and Fuyou Road Mosque.


Songjiang Mosque 

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This historical mosque, originally called Zhenjiao Mosque, is located in the Songjiang district in Shanghai. The mosque was originally constructed way back in the 14th century, rebuilt and went through several renovations but still maintained the architectural styles of the Yuan and Ming dynasties. The mosque covers an area of 4,900 square meters and its construction showcased the intersection of Arabic and Chinese architecture. The prayer hall is located in the west of the mosque. It is divided into the front and the back hall, with characteristics of Ming and Yuan architecture respectively. Apart from the main hall where prayers are conducted, there are also two sermon halls. Visitors can wander through during designated times.


Xiaotaoyuan Mosque 

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Xiaotaoyuan Mosque is located in Xiaotaoyuan Street and is one of Shanghai’s largest and most popular Muslim centers in Shanghai. This mosque was called West Mosque, and was first built in 1907 and rebuilt in 1925. This beautiful mosque, built in the traditional West Asian and Chinese architecture, holds a courtyard, prayer hall, library and classrooms as well as the Shanghai Islamic Association headquarters. It's prayer halls can accommodate up to 500 people for Friday prayers and 2,000 people or more for festivals. The library and a reading room is located on the second and the third floor respectively, and the sermon room is on the first floor. The southern side of the courtyard houses the Imam's room and reception room. The mosque also has one minaret and four domes at the four corners of the mosque.


Shanghai Huxi Mosque

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The Shanghai Huxi Mosque was built in 1921 and located at Xikang Road. It was reconstructed and moved to Changde Road in 1992. It was the first mosque in Shanghai to be renovated after the People’s Republic of China was founded. Now the Huxi Mosque covers an area of 1,667 square meters, holds three prayer halls, three wing halls and one wing room. The main body of the new mosque is a two-storey prayer hall with double-heart-shaped arches and fan-shaped vaults. The minaret is over 25 meters high. Other facilities in the hall include the imam's room and reception rooms. Colorful fountains are built in the front and the back courtyard. The courtyards are covered by six domes, each one decorated with a crescent sign. The venue of the mosque is well-known today for the weekly Friday Muslim food bazaar that occurs adjacent to the mosque. It is considered Shanghai's largest Muslim food bazaar.


Shanghai Pudong Mosque

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The Pudong Mosque is one of the most prominent mosque in Shanghai. Shanghai Pudong Mosque was first built in 1935 and located at Pudong Road. In 1935, the mosque was expanded by the Chinese government, and twenty years later, the mosque relocated to Yuanshen Road. The mosque now is a beautiful 3 storey building that covers an area of 1,650 square meters. At present, the building of the mosque include the main hall, the funeral home, and the imam's room. There is spacious courtyard in front of the main hall that can accommodate hundreds of people. On both sides of the mosque are one-story buildings housing the imam's room and sermon hall. The mosque's minaret is 36 meters high and is the highest in Shanghai.


Shanghai Fuyou Road Mosque

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Fuyou Road Mosque is one of the oldest mosques in Shanghai and is located near the popular Yu Garden, in the northeast of the Old City of Shanghai. The mosque is also known as the North mosque and was built in 1870 during the Qing Dynasty. During that time, a group of Muslims raised money and purchased a land and constructed the Fuyou Road Mosque. After several renovations, the mosque is a three-storey building and covers an area of 1520 square meters. There are dean's rooms, libraries, conference halls, and washrooms in the building. There are also many decorations inside the mosque with various types of pattern and pierced floor carvings painted in the roof beams. It's courtyard area is about 450 square meters and built in the traditional Chinese palace-style timber-framed hall building.


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