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St. Ignatius Cathedral (Xujiahui Cathedral)

It is one of the most magnificent architectural spectaculars in urban Shanghai. In such a city of busy business with strong commercial atmosphere, it is amazing to find a great and tranquil place except you go to the countryside. Every detail of the architecture can make you have the feeling of reverence. The solemn square in front of the church, the heavenly flowers planted here and gigantic Crosses and the holy statues on the building are like heaven on earth that will overwhelm you. This is the St. Ignatius Cathedral, located on 158 Puxi Road in Xuhui District. It is the first Roman Catholic Church in Shanghai after the Opium War.

During early 17th century, Western missionaries began to active in Shanghai area, the Old Cathedral was the first Catholic church which was built in Chinese temple architectural style. In early 18th century Catholicism was banned by the Qing's emperor Yongzheng (1678 - 1735), so the preaching came to a halt in China. But in mid 19th century, foreign missionaries set in again and the surrounding areas of famous Chinese Xu Guangqi's Tomb became the center of Roman Catholicism in Shanghai.

Because the number of followers was greatly increasing at that time, so in 1906, a new church was planned by the French Jesuit and built in 1910. It was the St. Ignatius Cathedral of Shanghai. It was also the first Roman Catholic built according to the western architectural style with height of 79 meters and width of 28 meters. It had been designed by architect Dodwall and completed by a French construction firm in Shanghai of brick-wooden structure.

The St. Ignatius Cathedral of Shanghai is the largest Roman Catholic Church in Shanghai and the most splendid Roman Catholic church in the Far East. In each morning, many believers at home and abroad come here to attend mass. In particular, at weekend or on some religion festivals, the believers are numerous.

During the Cultural Revolution, the St. Ignatius Cathedral of Shanghai suffered from serious destruction, and the church was used for storehouse, besides, all the religious ceremonies were paused until 1978. It was rebuilt in 1980. Stained glass windows, Gothic ceiling stone, columns, altars, Stations of the Cross and so on are built in European style.