Once known as St. Ignatius, this is Shanghai's great cathedral, opened by the Jesuits who'd had a church here as early as 1608 (today's structure dates to 1910). The Jesuits were invited here by a local high-ranking Ming Dynasty official, landowner, and scientist, Xu Guangqi (the district's name, Xujiahui, means "Xu Family Village"), who was himself converted to Catholicism by the Jesuits' most famous missionary to China, Matteo Ricci (1553-1610). Xu is buried in a public park named after him on Nandan Xi Lu, southwest of the cathedral. As a missionary center, the cathedral grounds once included a library, an orphanage, a college, a publishing house, and its own weather station. Today only the church, part of the school, and the recently reopened library remain. This largest of Shanghai's cathedrals, with space for more than 2,500 inside, sports a gargoyled roof and twin red-brick spires which were destroyed in the Cultural Revolution (1966-76) and rebuilt in 1980. Its vast interior of altars, stone columns, Gothic ceilings, stained-glass windows, and paintings of the Last Supper and Stations of the Cross, is yet another chapter in Shanghai's living history of European architecture, though there is currently a multi-year project underway to replace the traditional Western-style stained glass with glasswork imbued with Chinese motifs and characteristics (for example, using a phoenix, the traditional Chinese symbol for rebirth, to signify the Resurrection).
- © Frommer's 2013
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Ask Shanghai Locals about Xujiahui Tianzhutang (St. Ignatius Cathedral)
- Recommended 2010
- tel: 021/6438-2595
- Puxi Lu 158
- Xuhui (west side of Caoxi Bei Lu)
Pu Xi District
- Services Mon-Sat 6:15 and 7am, w/an additional 6pm Mass on Sat; Sun 6, 7:30, and 10am; open to visitors Sat-Sun 1-4pm
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