Hui People in Xi’an – an integral part of the city

Hui People in Xi'an

The Hui people in Xi’an constitute an integral part of this ancient city’s cultural mosaic, boasting a profound history and rich cultural heritage. Their roots in Xi’an trace back to the Tang Dynasty, a period marked by the flourishing of the Silk Road and Chang’an’s status as an international metropolis, attracting a multitude of merchants, diplomats, and religious emissaries from the Western Regions. These followers of Islam, particularly those from Arab and Persian regions, settled in Chang’an and established “Hu Shops” to trade various goods from the Western Regions. Their arrival not only enriched the city’s commercial activities but also laid the foundation for the Hui community’s settlement in Xi’an.

Since the Tang Dynasty, the Hui people in Xi’an have undergone periods of development during the Song, Yuan, Ming, and Qing Dynasties, gradually transitioning from scattered settlements to a stable ethnic group. Particularly during the Song Dynasty, with the dissolution of the Lifang system, Hui settlements became more concentrated. Today, Xi’an is an area where ethnic minorities are scattered, with the Hui people being one of the main minority groups, with a sizable population distributed widely, primarily concentrated in the districts of Lianhu, Xincheng, Beilin, and Yanta.

In Xi’an, Hui culture has been well preserved and developed. For instance, the Huajue Lane Great Mosque in Muslim Quarter serves as a sacred site of Hui faith in Xi’an, embodying centuries of historical memories and showcasing the splendor and solemnity of Hui culture. Additionally, Hui cuisine in Xi’an is an integral part of their culture, with dishes such as roujiamo (Chinese hamburger) and yangrou paomo (crumbled unleavened bread in lamb soup) being particularly beloved by visitors.

Furthermore, the Hui people in Xi’an maintain rich ethnic traditions in their daily lives. They have a preference for noodles and are skilled in making various noodle-based snacks. In terms of dietary habits, while they have gradually aligned with those of the Han people in the Guanzhong region and most other regions, they still retain a preference for beef and mutton. Moreover, the Hui people in Xi’an are known for their brick carving art, a unique form of architectural decoration that embodies rich ethnic and religious cultures.

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