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Repair gives new life to Guangzhou church
Latest Updated by 2007-02-06 09:15:24
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Repair gives new life to Guangzhou church

The Sacred Heart Catholic Cathedral in Guangzhou reopens after restoration.
Zou Zhongpin

The big new mechanical clock strikes at every hour, heralding a new beginning for the Sacred Heart Catholic Cathedral in this South China city.

The cathedral in Yide Road in downtown Guangzhou is popularly called the "Stone House" because it was built mostly with granite stones.

The 1863 structure was repaired at a cost of 20 million yuan ($2.56 million), and opened to the public after two years recently.

Yang Zhiming, an official from the Guangdong Ethnic and Religious Affairs Commission, said: "We think it'll become an important place for Catholics around the world, as well as a major tourist site."

Each of the church windows has been decorated with 98 pieces of stained glass, imported from the Philippines at a cost of 4.3 million yuan ($551,000 ).

"The windows have illustrations of stories from the Bible. The repairs also included fixing the lights and relaying the electricity cables and rebuilding the corridors, staircases and other facilities," Yang said.

One of the world's four Gothic churches with masonry structure, the cathedral was repaired twice before. The wooden roof beams were replaced with concrete ones in the 1920s, and the central government spent over 150,000 yuan ($18,000) to carry out some more repairs in the 1980s.

The church's surroundings will now be improved to a level "comparable with that of Notre-Dame in Paris", Yang said.

"A symbol of religious freedom on the mainland, the church is expected to become a place where more Catholics will come to attend mass and other gatherings."

Yang said a bigger nunnery would soon be built on the western of the church to house the more than 100 nuns in the cathedral.

Editor: Yan

By: Qiu Quanlin Source: China Daily Website
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