All photos taken in November 2004. The Full text of this Report coming soon !!
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This page was last updated: June 8, 2017
Introduction to South Cathedral, Nan Tang in Beijing
Nan Tang or South Cathedral is the oldest of Beijing's Four Cathedrals and its parish was established as early as the year 1605 AD. The building, also known as St. Mary's Church, was for long the Main Active Church in Beijing but recently, about since the year 2000, all other former church locations in Beijing, Xi Tang, Dong Tang (St. Joseph's Church), Dongjiaomin Church and some others have re-opened. Located inside South-Western XuanwuMen Gate, in the Imperial City proper, at 141QianMen Xi Dajie (Xi=West), the Cathedral was built on the site of the home of Father Matteo Ricci, the portugese Jesuit Missionary who first introduced Christianity into China.
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Have an Introduction to St. Joseph's Church, in the Eastern DongCheng District
Construction staryed in 1903 AD. Finally completed in the year 1705 AD, turbulent years of ..., the Cathedral has been attacked and destroyed no less than three times. The Cathedral underwent reparations in the year 1650 (for reasons we are researching). In the year 1775 AD it was completely destroyed by a Fire. During the Boxer Rebellion of 1900 AD, which was anti-christian as
well as anti-foreign, the South Cathedral was the scene of considerable skirmishes and bloodshed, and was heavily damaged, but its (about) 100 defenders managed to hold out against the chinese Taiping onslaught due to superior arms. South Cathedral was left scarred. Renovated recently (1990's), it is open to the Public and has regular mass assemblies.
The first ever Padre of the city of Beijing was Matteo Ricci, who initially arrived in China in the 15Th Century in ... AD. It was the Age of The Ming Dynasty and the Great Wall of China, a sealed off Confucian World mostly turned in upon itself and the greatness of Chinese Culture refound after over a 100 years of Foreign Domination by the neighboring Mongolians, which eventually took shape in a Chinese styled Dynasty the Yuan (1271 AD - 1368 AD). As during the preceeding Yuan Dynasty, under the Ming Dynasty China was the most powerful Bastion in Asia and the largest economy in the world. It was however a China entirely different ffrom theone that had been visited by Marco Polo some centuries earlier.
Arriving in Beijing, Padre Riccie and his small group Who was later joined by ...
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Head inside thhe Gate and browse the extensive grounds of the South Cathedral
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Introductory Short History of Chistianity in China and the Life and Achievements of Matteo Ricci in China
* Matteo Ricci initially famous around China for being an alchemist. Rumours include Ricci has the power to convert mercury into silver, roviding him with a "magical" supply of financial means. Social frictions.
* When in 1589 AD Matteo Ricci and his Jesuits are expelled from Nanchang, public rumor holds it that Ricci was expelled after refusing to yield the secret of turning mercury into silver. This rumor, although not truewas even printed in a book by the high scholar ??).
* In 1598 AD Matteo Ricci pays a first visit to Beijing. The stay is short and does not lead to permission for permanent residency in the Ming Dynasty Capital of Beijing. Matteo Ricci is invited to Court, not by the Wanli Emperor but only by a High Ranking Eunuch (Blz 188). After the Eunuch establishes that Ricci does not posses the secret of turning mercury into silver, the Jesuits are expelled from the City of Beijing on Court orders.
View of the Main South Gate and Entrance of the Southern Cathedral blocked by parked Busses at the Bus Station and Parking in front of the Cathedral & Grounds proper (Photo November 2004 AD).
Overview of the large XuanwuMen intersection. To the Left and Northward extends XuanwuMen Nei Dajie' (Inner Boulevard), to the right and South lies Chongwen District and XuanwuMen Wai Dajie' (Outer Boulevard). Construction is ongoing around the South Cathedral (Photo November 2004 AD).
The Two Crosses of the South Cathedral Gate and Church alligned (Photo November 2004 AD).
Underneath the South Wall of the Nan Tang. Down the Street is the Main Ceremonial South Gate which is in disuse. Enter the Cathedral grounds through the Traditional Chinese Gate with inscriptions to the Left. (Photo November 2004 AD).
Arrival at the South Catherdal in Beijing. Buy a Map or Magazine at the news stand and check your location on the name sign (Photo November 2004 AD).
An Impression of the South Outer Wall surrounding the South Cathedral compound. There is an abundance of electrical wiring criss-crossing in front further obscuring the Cathedral from the views of passersby. (Photo November 2004 AD).
* Predecessors of Matteo Ricci and Jesuits in China were:
- Galeote Pereira
- Friar Caspar De Cruz
* The Famous writer and scholar Shen Defu lives near Ricci in Beijing. Shen Defu wrote in his memoirs of the Ming Dynasty years that Matteo Ricci was seen by the public as an alchemist.
* In the early 1580's Spain planned to send an Embassy to the Ming Court at Beijing (the Death of King Sebastian of Portugal (in North Africa), enabled the King of Spain Philip II to also become King of Portugal). This Embassy never arrived.
* In 1583 AD Setting up of Home and Jesuit Catholic Mission in ZhaoQing City in Guangdong Province. Problem 1) Alchemy rumors, 2) Macau= Jesuits came from Macao, which is at the time regarded as non-Chinese, a dangerous foreign enclave from which destructive idea's emanate. Are the Jesuits spies for the Portugese? If not, they are still suspect because of their un-Chinese idea's and practices. 3) Jesuits represent Foreign Influence at a time when the Ming Empire is very much turned inward.(Great Wall) Are they turning ZhaoQing into a Foreign enclave?
* In 1585 AD The Jesuits establish a new Mission in the City of Nanchang in Zhejiang Province. They do this by befriending the brother of the former Prefect of Zhejiang Province. Inreturn for help with trade with the Portugese in Macao, Ricci arranges passage on the ship of the brother and thus travel on to Nanchang (Blz 189).
* 1601 AD Arrive in Beijing on "a clear januari day". They came bearing gifts to court of Wanli Emperor. Gifts include: two depictions of the Madonna (Virgin Mary).
The Jesuits are first lodged at the official Hostel for Foreign Tributaries managed by the Board of Rites of the Ming Court. This is a very basic, modest and low rank accomodations, but all are given daily food rations by the Court. The communications are all relayed through the Court eunuchs. Apparently the gifts are well received as after (many?) weeks the Jesuits are permitted to rent a house in Beijing and keep their food allowance from the Board of Rites meanwhile.
* in 1602 AD The Jesuits receive Gifts from the High Ranking Court eunuch Shen Yiguan, the Grand Secretary pof the Board of Rites, finally establishing a base of acceptance and support among high ranking members of society in the Capital.
* 1602 AD After one whole year in Beijing, Ricci is allowed to visit the Forbidden City / Imperial Palace in order to say thanks to the Wanli Emperor and bow to the empty Throne (at TaiHeDian?).
* Ricci's House in Beijing (Blz 212). Where ? Observes the carts carrying stones for the Foundations of the Buildings in the Imperial Palace. The carts come from stone quaries near Beijing (Western Hills?) and are drawn by 100 mules.
* Luke Li established the First Marian Society (Devotees of the Virgin Mary, Mother of Jezus) in China in Beijing. 16Th Century (Blz 238).
* 1610 AD Death and Funeral of Matteo Ricci. Funeral payed by Li Zizhao (Convert), cost 15 ounces of Silver.

Fall Ming Dynasty: Blz 215. Wanli Emperor and Eunuchs abuse of Power. 3 Crisis.
Further heavy earthquake + devastating Thunderstorms.
Secondary Option to Travel to Jinshanling Great Wall, some 120 kilometers due North-East of Beijing just across the Border of the City Province in Hebei: Go to Xuanwumen Bus Station at the South and Front of the South Cathedral (Nan Tang) and at the intersection of Dong Sishitiao (East 40th Street). This location marks the border of Xuanwu District and XiCheng District and is reachable through the Blue Circular Line 2 and the Aquatic Blue Line 4 of the Subway/Metro System.
From XuanwuMen Bus Station Take the Tourist Line Bus No. 12 to go to the Jinshanling Great Wall. Mind you however - This Bus only operates on statutory holidays).
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This page was last updated on: June 8, 2017
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