Beijing is full of surprises: Early in the morning, I left the hotel in search for my morning coffee. No sooner after I turned the corner I was face to face to an old Catholic church! Western churches are not a common sight in China, especially not a historical one.
The St Joseph Church is commonly known as Wangfujing Church or Dongtang (the east Cathedral) is one of the four historic Catholic Churches in Beijing.
The original Church was finished in 1655 (At the time, the Jesuits were the only group of people from Europe given permission to reside in the capital city, on account of their insight into astronomy.) but was destroyed first by earthquake in 1720 then by fire about 90 years later.. The current church date back to 1904 now stands as the second oldest Cathedral church in Beijing.
The building is in the style of Romanesque revival architecture. The church was closed down during the Cultural Revolution and suffered damages until the end of the revolution in 1976.
Although it was still early in the morning when I walk by, still a few tourists were there taking photos already.
Later, I discovered during the day the church can be enter through a side door. One time, there was even a service going with a handful of followers however with my limited Mandarin I couldn’t make out the sermon.