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Get me to the church on time, Beijing style
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Interior of Xuanwumen Catholic Church, seat of the Diocese of Beijing [Wang Jing]

Interior of Xuanwumen Catholic Church, seat of the Diocese of Beijing [Wang Jing] 

Wangfujing Catholic (St. Joseph) Church

Address: No 74, Wangfujing Street, Dongcheng district

The Wangfujing Catholic Church is nestled in the midst of the department stores, fancy boutiques and hubbub of the busiest commercial streets in the city.

The plot on which the church stands today was once a traditional courtyard house designated by Qing Emperor Shunzhi to two Catholic missionaries in 1655. The two built a church instead, the second one in Beijing. The building was destroyed a few times over the years due to earthquake and fire.

Rebuilt in 1904, the graceful Romanesque structure stands on a relatively spacious piece land in this costly district of downtown Beijing. After the wall surrounding the church was demolished a few years ago, the square before its entrance has become a public park, where nearby residents walk at night; newly-weds take photos and children practice roller skating.

Xishiku Catholic Church

Address: No 33, Xishiku Street, Xicheng district

The favorite church for the city's youngsters would probably be Xishiku Catholic Church because of its Gothic style building which is encircled by a white marble wall.

Built in 1703 during the reign of the Emperor Kangxi of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912), when western Christianity first spread in China,

It is the biggest Catholic Church in Beijing. Its architecture is a blend of western Gothic style and traditional Chinese imperial garden style. Chinese lions stand on top of white marble pillars of the garden wall while statues of the Catholic saints stand in niches in the outer walls of the church.

These days, many fashionable young people like to hold their weddings in the church, even though many of them are non-believers.

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