Although the exact year of the Great Mosqueâ€™s first construction remains uncertain, it is believed that the structure existed as early as the 7th Century. The grand structure that stands today was built primarily during the Ming Dynasty, beginning in 1392. The mosque has undergone many renovations and reconstructions throughout the centuries, with many of the current buildings dating from the 17th and 18th Centuries. Established in what was once regarded an area occupied predominantly by foreigners and travelers along the Silk Road, the northwestern neighborhood is now a part of Xian City proper and the Great Mosque stands only one block from the famed Drum Tower. Unique in its design, the Great Mosque follows a typical Chinese temple layout, with successive courtyards along a singular axis, as well as pavilions and pagodas designed to suit specific Islamic functions. The temple is aligned along an east west axis facing Mecca. The mosque is one of the largest and best preserved Islamic centers for worship still in practice in todayâ€™s China. This beautifully unique juxtaposition of Islamic and Chinese culture provides a fascinating glimpse into the rich historical past though carvings, frescos, calligraphy, and many other relics on display here.