Still further North up the road, the former Rue Hart branches off to the East.
There is nothing to see in this street, but for the street sign in english language. This is probably the only such sign surviving the cultural revolution in Beijing.
As a last treat, near the end of Rue Marco Polo, on the West Side again is a closed housing estate. This was the location of the former Home of both Rewi Alley, the New Zealander who helped up a self-support organization in early revolutionary China, and the journalist-writer and traveler american Agnes Smedley.
No entrance is allowed here, however.
The Gate and Outer Wall of St. Michael's Church at East legation Street. The metal gate is usually closed.
This page was last updated on: June 29, 2017
Dongjiaomin Catholic Church
Former Legation Quarter
DongCheng District, Beijing
Introduction to DongjiaoMin Alley - St. Michaels Church
The Church was Constructed in 1902 AD in the last few years of the Qing Dynasty and the after-math of the so-called the Boxer War, as the new Church for the recently re-opened and repaired French Legation at Beijing.
It was the aftermath of turbulent days, when the Chinese People had once more violently risen up against the Foreign Influences that pervaded their society. They were beaten back down by invading Foreign Forces. But only for the Time being.
Abonned and closed to the Public and worship during post-revolutionary days (after 1949 AD), the Church has re-opened its doors in the 1980's.
Since, it has been holding mass near Daily, including a regular Mass in the English Language. In the latest years the St. Michaels Church has been growingly popular with Foreign Tourist staying at nearby hotels, Ex-pats and other Foreigners, leading the Church to install a brandnew electronic system that helps translate Chinese masses into english on a large screen. This way anyone can join in.
Go visit St. Michaels on a stroll through the neighborhood, or make the best visit ever - find a place on Christmas Day, during the greatest service of the year.
look out for old architecture. Surrounding St. Michaels Church are outer walls of several other (former) Legation Compounds.
From its intersection with East Legation Street - DongjiaoMin, TaiJiChang Dajie' continues Northward to Dong Chang An Avenue and the souther entrance of Wanfujing Street, but this Page explores the St. Michaels Church only.
As part of the Former French Legation, St.Michaels Catholic Church is located at the eastern half of former Legation Street DongJiaomin Xiang, which runs parallel to QianMen Dong Dajie' one block due North of ChongwenMen or the above described intersection.
St. Michaels stands at its original spot, the grounds of the Former French Embassy in Beijing.
History of St. Michaels - DongjiaoMin Alley Catholic Church
The Catholic St. Michaels Church stands on the site of an earlier Christian Church built by Louis Buglio in 1655 AD in the earliest Reigning Years of the Qing Dynasty. Buglio built the Church under the supervision of the Jesuit Father Verbiest, who had succeeded Adam Schall as minister of astronomy at the imperial court (and who designed some of the instruments of the nearby Ancient Observatory). It was in use as christian church grounds for 159 years of growing christian influence in the Chinese mainland.
For years there were no incidents until 1814 AD when the church library burned down and
Capital. After this important turbulent episode, St. Michaels Catholic Church was erected, severely flaunting the anti-foreign-missionary Boxer Movement, repairing the Embassy-Legation and re-establishing French Colonial Pride at the Legation Quarter of China's Imperial Capital. No doubt to the anger of many Chinese.
A new Chinese Priest started service in 1952 AD, some years after the establishment of The Peoples Republic of China and the end of Foreign Domination of China.
There were some mixed feelings about the history of the catholic church in China, but for the moment, things remained calm and went on as usual.
For another 6 years the Catholic Church remained in operation.
In 1958 AD however, at the beginning of the Cultural Revolution, St. Michaels Church
- Mouse over Image -
- Mouse over Image -
Schematic Map of the 1900 AD Legation Quarter and its defenses - Coming Soon !
A first glimpse of DongjiaoMin Catholic Church , the St. Michaels, is caught when moving up TaiJiChang Dajie' from the wide QianMen Dong Dajie' - the Boulevard running East from the QianMen Gate.
To plan your route of walking, first go find the Imperial Cities Former Front Gate, the QianMen on the South Side of TiananMen Square.
From there the Church is due East and one block North of QianMen East(=Dong) Avenue.
Follow Qianmen East (Dong) street eastward until encountering the new Tiantan Boulevard on the right hand, leading southward. In the distance one can see the High Roof of the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests at Tiantan Park.
The new intersection of QianMen East Avenue and TaiJi Chang Dajie.' Southwards to the Underground City and far away Tiantan - Temple of Heaven Park.
Surrounding the Underground City and XidoMoChang Lane are the QianMen Hutong. Although largely annihilated in the year 2005 and still under threat from eager developers, some stretches of this beautiful and historic Hutong Area remain to this day.
To the West lies TiananMen Square, QianMen and the direction you came from if you followed our route. On the opposite side of QianMen East Avenue, some way back the Capital Hotel Tower is in full view.
Last but not least, Northward is TaiJiChang Dajie, the street leading into the Former Foreign Legation Quarter and up to St. Michaels Church.
TaijiChang Dajie' is a non-descript and dull looking street but keep a
The twin towers of the St. Michaels Church of the Former French Legation. Best views are from along TaiJiChang Dajie'.
restored and serves as the basis of one of the Cities' Green Parks. At the very end of the outstretched Park stands the DongBianMen Tower, the home of the internationally recognized Red Gate Modern Art Gallery.
To the South of the Intersection are a multitude of hidden treasures, although admittedly there were far more before the year 2005 and the decimation of the Hutong which used to start just across the street and behind highrises buildings providing the facade of Qianmen Dongdajie.
Heading down towards the Temple of Heaven, the first and foremost treasure, just right of the main boulevard is the little Hutong of Xidamochang Dajie'. Only some 100 meters from the intersection, some distance inside this Hutong Alley is the Underground City (of Beijing) Museum, a tunnel complex remnant of communist days and relic of the Cold War.
Side-view of St.Michaels Church from the intersection of East Jiaomin Lane and TaiJiChang DaiJie.'Jiaomin Lane is the current name for the Legation Street.
Busy Traffic at DongJiaoMin Church during after-work rush hour in the City of Beijing. Currently the car situation is even worse.
Dongjiaomin Cathlic Church is surrounded by apartment highrise, nearby remnants of other Legations now turned Guesthouse or Government Office and has a very bad restaurant built along in front.
Across from it to the South are the Former Belgian Legation, now ZhiJing Guesthouse, and behind and adjacent the church there is still the original Catholic School attached to the original Church, built in 1902 AD.
A view of St. Michaels Church and the defacing restaurant.
Emperor Jiaqing (Reign 1820 - 1850 AD) seized the opportunity to have the whole church razed and the land confiscated.
A Futile attempt to get rid of the annoying Foreigners, who would later claim only more of this spot. Namely, the entire legations quarter, which would become off-limits to native chinese in all ways.
The Towers of St. Michaels Church and the corner of former East Legation Street. Here the streets retake their old architectural styles.
Taking a calming walk in the Lanes of the Legation Quarter and St. Michaels Church.
Surrounding Area of St. Michaels - DongjiaoMin Alley Catholic Church
The surrounding structures of St. Michaels Catholic Church often are of equal historic relevance.
To start on the corner, the seemingly dull TaiJiChang Dajie is the former Rue Marco Polo or the main street of the French part of the Legations. Along its western flank is a large walled complex
Other Christian Churches in Beijing
St. Michaels Catholic Church is only one of a growing number of officialy recognized Beijing Churches.
Nearby is the First Methodist Church of China at ChongwenMen which is quite famous due to many visits by various foreign Diplomats and officials.
The other main churches to visit in Beijing are East Cathedral, which is situated relatively nearby on the North End of Wanfujing Street and is therefor also known as Wanfujing Cathedral and was known as St. Josephs' Cathedral in the Past.
The Main Southern Church is Nan Tang, at XuanwuMen which historically was the first ever Church founded in Beijing by father Matteo Ricci.
Listed Here Last But not least is the Northern Church, St. Savior at Shishikou, which was previously situated nearer the Forbidden City where it was the headquarters of Foreign Religious influence for quite a while.
Plaque on the Wall of the Former Belgian Legation opposite the St. Michael's Church outer gate. It commemorates the revolutionary history of the Legation Quarter and the location of the Church in the 1900 AD Boxer War, often seen as one of the first battles in the Liberation of the Chinese People from Feudal and Foreign Oppression.
- Mouse over Image -
Address and Contact Information of St. Michaels Church
St. Michael's Church
Tel: 010 - 651 35170
Mass at St. Michaels Church
Sunday Mass: 7.00am, 8.00am, 6.00pm
Weekday Mass: 6.30am
Plaque on the outerwall designating St. Michaels Church a national heritage protected on a City Government Level.
The New St. Michaels Catholic Church was originally constructed just after the end of the anti-foreign & anti-missionary uprising now known as the "Boxer War", in 1902 AD. During the uprising which lasted from 1900 to somewhere in 1902 AD, much of the Legations had been damaged or destroyed. After the so-called 8 Allied European nations had reliefed the Legation Quarter, ransacking much of Beijing and its Palaces, and re-established order to the City, things much returned to Normal. The Europeans were once more dominating China, its Policies and Politics. The evil Empress-Dowager Cixi remained in the seat of Power, only to return to Beijing in 1903 AD, after Foreign Forces had been withdrawn from The
was closed on orders from the communist City Governement. After this quiet set in for a very long period, lasting through the dangerous Cultural Revolution years (1966 - 1976), which could have destroyed this Church.
Fortunatly it did not (it is said that the Church and some other Monuments were protected from the zealous Red Guards by the personal influence of Prime-Minister Zhou Enlai).
After the end of this rather radical communist movement, and the New Course set by Chairman Deng Xiaoping, the Chinese mindset slowly changed and grew more tolerant again. China of after 1985 was once more opening to Foreigners.
After a long long period of Closure, quiet and inoperation, St. Michaels proudly re-opened its doors on Christmas Eve, 1989.
Operating once more with Chinese Caretakers and a (foreign-educated) Priest, St. Michaels has been holding regular masses eversince.
Come to this Church early in the morning for mass-time in Chinese. Or, return on Friday and the weekend, to join in one of the English Language Services. Around Christmas Time the small Church is at its busiest.
Outside of Mass Hours the Church Gate is usually closed. However, whenever the gate is loose, visitors are welcome to respectfully have a look inside and ask for information on the Church Activities and Works, or have a look around.
View over the outer wall of the Front of St.Michaels Church.
now home to Government Offices, but formerly the sight of a foreign legation. On the Eastern Flank, just up the street is the Iron Gate of the Catholic School attached to the Church.
Go West across the intersection with Rue Marco Polo - TaijiChang Dajie', to dwell along East (former) Legation Street. Here are several small left-overs from the various Old and Former legations (, all of whom are described on our Report Page).
Over the south side of East Legation Street looms the large Capital Hotel Tower. This modern Hotel Tower of unknown date is thus far the only highrise building in the center of Beijing. It is mentioned because, among things, the Capital Hotel gives an excellent overview of the Legations Quarter Area.
Immediatly across from St. Michaels Church is a hind gate into into the Former Belgian Embassy Compound. Currently its in use as an exclusive Guesthouse and entrance is restricted, but one can walk around and the former Embassy Buildings rise high over its enclosure Wall.
The Pride of the Church, it statue of the Arch Angel Michael, the Mighty Angel.
Click the Photo to Browse around the Church Courtyard and/or visit the Interiors.
Webstyle produced NavBar
As soon as the Opium Wars opened new opportunities for Foreigners and their Faith, a new Cathedral was built as part of the French Legations in Beijing.The new Peh'Tang Cathedral and Catholic Headquarters however were an eyesore to the Chinese Court and Government. As a result its Bliss was shortlived. Although guarded by Foreign Forces (117 Austrian and Italian soldiers were sent to defend the fortress-like cathedral) and the last sanctuary of 2500 Nuns as well as missionary families and stray
foreigners, the Cathedral was large demolished above their heads during the summer of 1900 AD. In the Siege, the Cathedral endured no less than 28 days of round the clock shelling from the nearby City Wall. In defense the French expended more than 2000 rounds of ammunition against the aatcking Boxers. Luckily for the westerners, these were not well trained forces.
Only on the 16th August, after Foreign Forces had broken their way into the City Gates, the Cathedral was again safe. The small force that had defended the Cathedral against all odds were to be congratulated for saving the lives of native converts as well the shocked foreigners. The Cathedral however was badly damaged and the Jardine Matheson Headquarters across the street was burned to the ground.
Schematic Map of the 1916 AD Beijing Legation Quarter, between 1861 AD - and 1919 AD home of the Colonial Embassies in Beijing,
Map depicts the Former Legations Quarter including details of the Southern City Walls and Beijing's First Railway Station (QianMen) as well as the smaller TiananMen Square of 1916 AD. Further on this Map the Location of ALL Legations of Various European and other Colonial Nations plus Todays remaining remnants and sights of the Beijing (Former) Legation Quarter.
Short Summary of Streets in the Legations Quarter with their historic relevance is included !
Read More in the 11 Page Report on the Legations Quarter of Today.
This page was last updated on: June 29, 2017
My Great Web page
Find DrBen and ChinaReport on Facebook with the latest from www.drben.net.