China Travel Guide

Temples & Churches

  • Jade Buddha Temple
  • Jing'an Temple
  • Xujiahui Catholic Cathedral
  • Jing'an Temple

    • 1686 Nanjing Xi Rd (near Huashan Rd)
    • Jing'an Temple
    • 7:30am–5pm daily
    Wall detail, Jade Buddha Temple
    Wall detail,
    Jade Buddha Temple

    Located opposite the attractive Jing'an Park, which contains the old Bubbling Well Cemetery, Jing'an Temple (Temple of Tranquility) is one of the city's most revered places for ancestor worship. Originally founded in the Three Kingdoms Period, it re-opened in 2006 after being completely rebuilt. In the 1930s, it was Shanghai's wealthiest Buddhist temple, headed by the influential abbot Khi Vehdu, who was also a gangster with a harem of concubines and White Russian bodyguards. It is said that his bodyguards went with him everywhere, carrying bulletproof briefcases as shields in the event of an attack. The temple was closed during the Cultural Revolution, but has reopened to become one of the best examples of an active Buddhist shrine in the city. It is a popular place to offer coins and pray for financial success.

    Xujiahui Catholic Cathedral

    • 158 Puxi Rd.
    • 021 6438 2595
    • Xujiahui
    • 1pm–4pm Sat, Sun

    The red brick Gothic Cathedral of St. Ignatius that stands at a southwestern corner of Shanghai has long been associated with foreign nationals. The land originally belonged to a member of the Xu clan, Xu Guangqi (1562–1633), who was converted to Catholicism by Matteo Ricci. Upon his death, Xu left land to the Jesuits for the building of a church, seminary, and observatory. The cathedral, with its 164-ft (50-m) twin towers, was built in 1906. It was partly destroyed during the Cultural Revolution, but was rebuilt, and now holds Sunday services attended by over 2,000 worshipers. The interior is an interesting mix of traditional Catholic decoration and Chinese embellishment. Xu Guangqi is buried nearby in Nandan Park.

    Longhua Si

    • 2853 Longhua Xi Rd.
    • 7am–4:30pm daily

    This site honors those who died for the communist cause before the People's Republic was established in 1949. At the center is a Memorial Hall, while many commemorative sculptures dot the park. The cemetery is situated on the site of the Nationalist Party's execution ground, where several hundred Communists were put to death by Chiang Kai-shek.

    Nearby is Longhua Temple and an octagonal pagoda. A temple has existed on this site since AD 687, and a pagoda since AD 238–251. The foundations of the current pagoda, with its upturned eaves, date to AD 977, while the temple buildings were built during the late Qing era. The temple has several halls and is very active. The surrounding area is pretty in spring, when the peach trees are in bloom.

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