Public need to wait to enjoy renovated cathedral

Xujiahui cathedral has restored its religious activities since Saturday, but has yet to open to visitors.
Wang Rongjiang / SHINE

A large number of visitors wait to enter the city's iconic cathedral on Saturday morning after the completion of a two-year renovation, but were told the structure is not yet open to visitors.

The city's century-old Xujiahui cathedral reopened today after a two-year renovation, but only for religious activities and not yet for the wider public.

A large number of visitors rushed to the city's iconic cathedral on Saturday morning after learning that the huge renovation project had been completed, however they were not allowed to enter. 

The cathedral announced in a statement posted on its entrance that it will open to the public after formalities are completed. A member of staff on site said that might happen early next year.

Some invited Catholic residents attended the cathedral’s reopening ceremony in the morning.

The police authority of Xuhui District also reminded visitors on its official microblog to postpone their visiting plans even though the renovation project has been completed.

Wang Rongjiang / SHINE

Some invited Catholic residents attends the Xujiahui cathedral’s reopening ceremony on Saturday morning.

Formerly known as the Saint Ignatius Cathedral, the building was once the largest cathedral in East Asia.

It was designed by a British architect and built with funds from French businessmen. Construction began in 1906 and was completed in October 1910.

Before its closure in August 2015 for safety reasons, the cathedral said the building had severe leakages and parts of the ceiling had fallen, disrupting prayer sessions and alarming visitors.

The renovation, which started in late 2015, repaired the leaky roof and damage from wind abrasion. Floor tiles and wooden floors damaged by termites were replaced.

Wang Rongjiang / SHINE

Renovators repainted the dome and the interior wall, and stabilized the wooden handrails. They also applied anti-termite paint to protect the building into the future.

The main altar and several smaller altars, which had been sealed off, have been refurbished.

The building’s 150 windows have also been restored, with colorful paintings etched on the glass panels.

To better preserve the cathedral, the renovators extended the length of the project from the initially planned nine months to two years.

Wang Rongjiang / SHINE

A young resident takes a picture of the newly-opened hall of the Xujiahui Cathedral. Some invited Catholic residents attended the Xujiahui cathedral’s reopening ceremony on Saturday morning.

Special Reports