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Ancient Places / Trip Ideas

Top 10 church buildings in China

By Discover China

May 5

Although it might not be the first thing come to mind when you think about China, Christianity has a long history here .

Although it might not be the first thing come to mind when you think about China, Christianity has a long history here .

Although it might not be the first thing come to mind when you think about China, Christianity has a long history here . Whether you’re interested in churches for religious purposes, or for their architecture and history, China has a lot to offer. Here are China’s most popular churches.

1.  East Church, Beijing 北京东堂

Beijing East Church [Image Credit:]
Beijing East Church [Image Credit:]
Located at Wangfujing Street (王府井大街) in the center of Beijing, the East Church, also known as St Joseph’s Church, is one of the most picturesque church buildings in China. It was built in the Romanesque Revival style from the early 20th century. Two priests completed the original construction in 1665, making the church the second oldest in Beijing.

Mass times: Monday -Saturday: 6:30, 7:00 a.m. (Chinese); Sunday: 6:15, 7:00, 8:00 a.m. (Chinese), 4:00 p.m. (English)

Location: 74, Wangfujing Street, Dongcheng District, Beijing.

2. St. Sophia Church, Harbin 哈尔滨圣索菲亚大教堂

St. Sophia Church [Image Credit:
St. Sophia Church [Image Credit:]
The St. Sophia Church in Harbin, Heilongjiang Province, is the largest Eastern Orthodox Church in the Far East region. The building was first built by Russians for military use in March of 1907 in typical Byzantine style, and was later renovated into a wooden church. In 1997, it was repaired as Harbin Art Gallery (哈尔滨建筑艺术博物馆), displaying old photos that tell the city’s history.

Loacation:  No.88 Toulong Street, Daoli District, Harbin, Heilongjiang Province.

Opening hours: 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

3. Xikai Catholic Church, Tianjin  天津西开天主堂

Xikai Catholic Church [Image Credit:]
Xikai Catholic Church [Image Credit:]
Built in the Roman style, the Xikai Catholic Church is located in the Heping District of Tianjin. It is a characteristic French Romanesque building and also called the “French Church” because it was first built by French bishops in 1913 with bricks imported from France.

Mass times: 6:00, 7:30 a.m.

Location: No.9 Xining Street, Heping District, Tianjin.

Opening hours: 5:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

4. Xujiahui Catholic Church, Shanghai  上海徐家汇天主堂

Xujiahui Catholic Church [Image Credit: Xinhua]
Xujiahui Catholic Church [Image Credit: Xinhua]
Built in a style imitating the gothic style of Middle Ages France, Xujiahui Catholic Church is the largest Catholic Church in Shanghai. With red walls, white stone columns and slate roofs, as well as the two cloud-kissing bell towers, it has become an important building in Shanghai. Because the church can hold 3,000 people, it has also been named the “Vatican in Shanghai”.

Mass times: Saturday (4:30 p.m., 6:00 p.m.); Sunday (7:00, 10:00 a.m.).

Location: No.158 Puxi Road, Xuhui District, Shanghai.

Opening hours: Saturday: 1:00-4:00 p.m.; Sunday: 2:00-4:00 p.m.

5. Shigulu Catholic Church, Nanjing  南京石鼓路天主教堂

Shigulu Catholic Church [Image Credit: Xinhua]
Shigulu Catholic Church [Image Credit: Xinhua]
Shigulu Catholic Church is currently the only Romanesque-style building in Nanjing. It was first built in 1870 by French priests and has been the office of the Catholicism Patriotic Committee of Nanjing and Jiangsu Provinces since 1978. The church has the form of an old European abbey and is a distinctive catholic church.

Mass times: Monday-Saturday: 7:00 a.m.; Sunday: 8:30 a.m.,4:00 p.m., 6:00 p.m. (English).

Location: No.112 Shigu Road, Baixia District, Nanjing, Jiangsu Province.

Opening hours: 8:00 a.m.- 6:00 p.m.(weekdays) ; 1:00-4:00 p.m.(Saturday); 2:00-4:00 p.m.(Sunday)

6. St. Michael’s Catholic Church, Qingdao 青岛圣弥爱尔大教堂

St. Michael's Catholic Church [Image Credit:]
St. Michael’s Catholic Church [Image Credit:]
St. Michael’s Catholic Church sits atop a steep hill in Qingdao’s old urban area. Its bell tower is 55 meters high and it has been the city’s important landmark for a long time. The gorgeous church has been a popular place for young Catholic couples to hold weddings.

Mass times: Monday-Saturday: 6:00 a.m.; Sunday: 8:00 a.m.

Location: No.15 Zhejiang Road, Shinan District, Qingdao City, Shandong Province.

Opening hours: Saturdays and Sundays

7. Nanguan Catholic Church, Shenyang 沈阳南关天主教堂

Nanguan Catholic Church [Image Credit:]
Nanguan Catholic Church [Image Credit:]
Erected in 1878, this gray hulk of a building barely survived the Boxer Rebellion in 1900. The existing Catholic Church was just the one rebuilt in 1912. Following Renaissance architectural style, it is a characteristically gothic building. With a height of 40 meters and an area of 1,100 square meters, the church can hold 1,500 people.

Mass times: Monday-Saturday: 6:30 a.m., 5:30 p.m.; Sunday: 6:30 a.m., 9:00 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 5:30 p.m.

Location: No. 40 Nanlejiao Road in Shenyang, Liaoning Province.

Opening hours: 6:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

8. Sacred Heart Cathedral, Guangzhou 广州圣心大教堂

Sacred Heart Cathedral [Image Credit:]
Sacred Heart Cathedral [Image Credit:]
Located in central Guangzhou, Sacred Heart Cathedral is locally called “Stone House”, as all of the walls and columns are made of granite. The church is built in the European gothic style and its tower spire reaches 58.5 meters. The atmosphere can be compared to Notre Dame in Paris.

Mass times:

Weekdays: 6:45 a.m. (Cantonese);

Saturday: 4:00 p.m.(Korean), 7:30 a.m. (Mandarin);

Sunday:  6:30 a.m.(Cantonese), 8:30 a.m.(Cantonese), 10:30 a.m.(Mandarin), 3:30 p.m. (English).

Location: No. 56 Yide Road, center of Guangzhou, Guangdong Province.

Opening hours: 8:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

9. Cizhong Church, Yunnan 云南茨中天主教堂

Cizhong Church [Image Credit:]
Cizhong Church [Image Credit:]
The Cizhong Church was built at the beginning of the 20th century with a unique fusion of French and Chinese architectural styles. The overhanging eaves and roof of the church are Chinese style, while the cross on top is Western style. The Cizhong municipal government repaired the church in 1989 and opened it to the public.

Location: Shengping Town, Deqin County, Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Yunnan Province.

Opening hours: 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

10. Yanjing Catholic Church 西藏盐井天主教堂

 Yanjing Catholic Church [Image Credit: Sina Blog]
Yanjing Catholic Church [Image Credit: Sina Blog]
The Yanjing Catholic Church, built in 1865 by French missionaries, is the only one of its kind in Tibet and covers an area of 6,000 sq m. The church is a rare combination of Western and Tibetan architectural styles. Inside it has a typical Gothic vault and frescoes depicting Biblical scenes on the ceiling., while the exterior looks like a common Tibetan-style residence.

Location: Upper Yanjing Village, Mangkang County, Chamdo Prefecture, Tibet Autonomous Region

Opening hours: 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

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