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The Etigar Mosque
(Tianshannet) Updated: 2010-August-4 18:15:16

The Etigar Mosque is a very famous Islamic mosque, which is well known in central and west Asia with the name of "Little Mecca".

The Etigar Mosque is at The Etigar Square in Kashgar City's center. It is the biggest mosque in China and the symbol of Kashgar.It's said that, originally the place was a burial ground. In 1442,the decedents of Shakesez Mizaer, the ruler of Kashgar set a small temple here to worship the souls of the dead relatives and friends. In 1538, the offspring Wubuli Aerbeke expanded the temple into a mosque for worshiping. Afterwards, with several times of reconstructions and expans ons t becomes the present scale with magnificence.

The Etigar Mosque has a history of nearly 600 years from its beginning of construction to the present, with an area of 16,800 square meters formed by the worshipping hall, the scripture lecturing hall, the gate tower and some attachments. Its front is magnificent and solemn with unsophisticated simplicity. The gate tower is majestic, with the doors in sky-blue, decorated with gilded round nails with a height of 4.7 meters, the width of 4.3 meters; under its semi-circular dome, a stele is suspending written with scriptures of Alcoran. At the each side of the gate tower, there is a minaret tower of 18 meters in height, at the top of each tower, there is a sculpt of a crescent. Every day at dawn, the imam in the mosque will step on to the minaret five times to call loudly Muslims to come for worshipping. At the back of the gate tower, there is an entry arch with a small minaret on the top, crossing an octagon gate, going along the passage paved with square bricks to the courtyard where the worshiping hall is situated. Inside the courtyard, poplar, pine and cypress and various flowers grow with exuberance. Under the south and north walls, 36 rooms for lecturing scriptures are erderly displayed, where the big imam will lecture the scriptures and Muslims will learn the scriptures. At the west of the mosque, there are the worshipping halls which have the main hail and an exterior hall with an area of 2,660 square meters.Inside the main hall, there are 140 wooden green carved pillars each with has a height of 7 meters supporting the white dome,on which, several tens of caissons are decorated with various flowery patterns, the ground is covered with green carpets in the clean and capacious hall. At the center of the walls inside the main hall, there is a tabernacle with a throne in the form of a sedan chair. Every time when worshipping, the big mullah will be standing in the tabernacle reading aloud the scriptures.On holidays, the big mullah will then preach here. Muslims will take off shoes when getting into the porch and enter in orderly withhout discrimination of nobility or poverty, then prey to Allah.

The Etigar Mosque's scale ranks the first in China; it can hold more than 20,000 people for worshiping at the same time.On an ordinary day, the number of people coming here for worshipping reaches 3,000. On the afternoon of Friday, "Juma Day", the male Muslims from far or close by will come here to participate the most solemn worship in a week, and the number of people will reach 20,000. On every important holiday, such as Corban Festival, there will be full of Muslims felling down on the floor which is covered with carpets inside and outside of the mosque. The Etigar, with the original meaning of the worshiping and celebrating place, is a sacred place as well as the site for holiday observations.

Mosque in worship day

Aocording to Islamic doctrines, women are not allowed to do worshipping, but in history, several big expansions of The Etigar Mosque were fulfilled by women's funding. At the present, it is also a tourism spot open for the public which can be visited with a ticket.

(SOURCES:China Intercontinenal Press)Editor: zhaoqian
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