Xuanwumen, Lines 2 and 4 Selling Point One of Beijing’s oldest neighborhoods, Xuanwumen offers the visitor history and authentic Beijing eats. From the city’s oldest Catholic church to its oldest mosque and a grand opera house, the RMB 2 ride to Xuanwumen is a wormhole into a cultural dimension. See Even for the secular visitor, a Christmas Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception (more commonly known as the Southern Cathedral, Nantang) is an uplifting holiday activity. See the Beijinger’s website for times and languages (usually Mandarin, Latin, and occasionally English). Italian Jesuit Matteo Ricci built the original church here in 1605. Work on a cathedral at the present site began in 1650, under the supervision of German Jesuit Johann Adam Schall von Bell. After being razed in 1900, the current building was completed in 1904. Nearby is the Niujie (Ox Street) Mosque, the oldest mosque in the capital. This house of worship dates to 996, and was rebuilt in 1443 after destruction by Genghis Khan’s armies, and enlarged in 1696. Visitors should note that the main prayer hall is off-limits to non-Muslims and entrance to some areas of the mosque may be restricted around midday on Friday for Friday prayers. Eat The presence of the Niujie Mosque means the Xuanwumen area can claim the city’s best Muslim food, specifically Xinjiang food. The Kashgar Representative Office at 60 Pen’er Hutong (儿胡同60号) is perhaps the city’s best-kept secret for this cuisine. The Noodle Diaries blogger Badr Benjelloun called it “the best Xinjiang food in town, bar none,” and Eileen Wen Mooney, author of Beijing Eats, named it one of her top ten Beijing restaurants. Disclosure: Badr Benjelloun is the CTO of True Run Media, the Beijinger’s parent company. Beijing Eats is published by True Run Media.
Published on Nov 22, 2013