Sacred Heart Cathedral is located on Yide Road (一德路) at the heart of the old busy city, facing the Pearl River. It is hard to believe that the tranquility and magnificence of the Catholic cathedral can exist harmoniously with its noisy surroundings. As a result, it has gained the unique features of being mysterious and solemn. Its long history as well as Gothic style, has endowed it with a combination of divine power, profound wisdom and glorious scenery. In aspects of the imposing structure and its nobleness, it can be compared with the Notre-Dame de Paris.
On the site of the house of the General of Guangzhou, the construction of the cathedral began on June 28, 1861 in commemoration of the Feast of the Sacred Heart. The construction took 25 years. It is one of the few churches in the world to be entirely built of granite, including all the walls, pillars and the twin towers, so it is nicknamed the "Stone House" or “Shi Shi” (石室) by local people. With a floor area of 2,754 sqm, it is the largest Roman Catholic Church in the Guangzhou archdiocese and the largest cathedral of its style in China and Southeast Asia.
The whole cathedral can be divided into two parts; the first half is of twin tapering towers, extending to the sky, like a man outspreading his hands to embrace the sky, which has presented a sense of mystery. The twin towers rise 58.5 m high. The west tower is a clock tower while the east tower serves as a bell tower. A Catholic symbol is in the middle of right side of the cathedral. Inside, all the doors and windows were made in France and inlaid with colorful glass. The latter part is a big chapel with round, tall and grant roofs, its windows painted with several colorful and vivid pictures describing the stories of Bible. In the front of the chapel, a statue of Jesus stands looking at the praying people genially.
The church is not only a place for the masses for the catholic, but also a place to compose our mind. In the courtyard, some trees and flowers grow around, also the lightness and freshness and intoxication of the gentle air blows here and there with a faint odor. Sometimes, several foreigners play the guitar and sing some antiphons under the trees, all of these seem to make up a peaceful, relaxing but solemn ambience, which is contrasted to the hustle and bustle city life outside. Perhaps, only such a quiet, cozy and holy place like this can release people from the busy and stressed life and bring them a peace of mind.
Transportation: Metro Line 2 Haizhu Square (海珠广场站)
(By Zhou Yue and Stephen Roberts)