The Dongsi mosque is the oldest
mosque in Beijing City. It is located at No.13, the Dongsi South Street,
Dongcheng District. There are different sayings about the construction time of
the mospue. Some people say that it was built in 1356 during the Yuan Dynasty
(1271-1368), but some other people think it was constructed in the
12th year (1447) during the Zhengtong reign of the Ming Dynasty
(1368-1644) by a military officer named Chen You.
The mosque faces the east. The
existing buildings include two gates, a minaret, a worship hall and so on. The
first gate was rebuilt in 1920. Originally, there was a minaret inside the
second gate. The worship hall can accommodate 500 people and the lections of the
Alcoran are carved on the hall's arches. There are 5 wing halls and 3 wing rooms
respectively on the southern and northern parts of the courtyard with
ambulatories in front of all of them. These buildings feature the Ming Dynasty
architectural style. Many precious cultural relics are preserved in the mosque.
In the library located at the southern wing hall, you can find various versions
of the Alcoran. The most precious one is a hand-written copy from the Yuan
Dynasty. Also there are books presented by the emperor of Egypt.
The mosque is the headquarters of the
Islamic Association of Beijing.