The Id Kah Mosque, Kashgar
Shining beauty and majesty of the Id Kah Mosque
One of the main attractions of Kashgar is the Id Kah Mosque – one of the largest mosques in Central Asia and the largest in China. For Friday prayers, it brings together up to 10,000 people, many of whom are praying in the square outside the mosque. While during the holidays the Id Kah Mosque being a kind of pilgrimage for Chinese Muslims is visited by100,000 believers.
The mosque was built in 1442 by order of the governor of the city Shakessimirdzhi. The name of the mosque in Persian means “festive”. The mosque, with an area of 16,800 m2 can accommodate up to 20,000 worshipers. Although the Id Kah was built in the middle of the XV century, the age of the basement of the building is much older.
The scientists believe that the base of the mosque belongs to the IX-XI centuries, to the period of the Karakhanid epoch. It is possible that at the site of the modern Id Kah Mosque there was a more ancient mosque of the Karakhanid era, destroyed as a result of Kashgar occupation in the XIV century by armies of Amir Timur.
The Id Kah is striking not only for its beauty but also for its grandeur. It does not look like a modern mosque in China, as it was constructed in a Central Asian style. The walls of the mosque are covered with yellow glazed tiles and decorated with various ornaments and inscriptions from the Koran.
The mosque is decorated with three minarets: two of them are located at the corners of the portal arch, while the third one adorns the main dome of the mosque. The mosque interior décor is notable for its elegant simplicity. In front of the main hall there is a swimming pool for ablution. The central wall serves as a kind of a “throne” for the imam to read prayers.
The Id Kah Mosque is a functioning mosque, so all tours are conducted in between prayers. When visiting a mosque you should think of suitable clothes, while women should enter the mosque with their head covered.