Thursday, November 06, 2008

Songjiang Mosque

Shanghai has a visible Muslim population, with Chinese Hui Muslims all about town (often seeming to run Pulled-Noodle Stands), and the generally-Muslim Eastern Turks visible as well (often seeming to sell barbequed meats or raisins). However outside of the food services, there doesn't seem to be much of a Muslim presence – for instance, businesses that aim themselves at a Muslim clientele. The only mosque I've seen in Shanghai has been the underwhelming Peach Garden Mosque, near the Old City of Shanghai.

I'm curious about the Islamic religion, so I've wanted to go to the mosque in the suburb of Songjiang for a long time now. The mosque was originally built in 1391, I had read it's one of the oldest mosques in China. However Songjiang is quite a ways out of town, so I never made it out, until I heard that Shanghai's new line #9 went out to Songjiang, and I decided to give it a try – the line also goes to Qibao Old Street.

The subway ride and transfer there is so annoying, worlds beyond the terrible People's Square Station. There are two stations, both named Yishan Lu – the line #3 version is the proper one to transfer from. From there, the two lines don't actually connect, and there's a long line for a free bus to the line #9 station, and then after the short bus ride, it's about an hour long subway ride to Songjiang terminal station, and a further ten minute taxi ride.

To my untrained eyes, the mosque didn't look all that different from a Chinese temple:

The largest difference being that there were gardens on site:

And also a small graveyard:

As well as the occasional Arabic sign or calligraphy:

There weren't any people worshipping when I went to the Mosque, although I went on a Saturday rather than a Friday. However, I understand it's still an active mosque, here's a snapshot of the Prayer Hall:

So honestly I found the mosque a little disappointing. However, it's worth a gander for those who are already in Songjiang, for whatever obscure reason.

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