Beijing Attractions: Foreign Legation Quarter
Foreign Legation Quarter 东交民巷
- 19th century European enclave in Beijing
- Area of historic buildings
- European-style churches, banks, embassies, post office
- Housed 11 foreign embassies on a 3 acre site
- Close to Tiananmen Square
East of Tiananmen Square is the former Foreign Legation Quarter, a western enclave home to 11 European embassies and off-limits to Chinese in its heyday in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century.
Although many of the buildings were destroyed in the Boxer Rebellion of 1900 and others have been converted for state use since, a visit here may envoke something of the troubled history of European interaction with China in the 19th century.
Among the surviving sights is the Catholic St. Michael's Church on the corner of Taijichang Toutiao and Dongjiaomin Xiang, the buildings of the Belgian Embassy opposite the twin-spired church and a former French post-office at 19 Dongjiaomin Xiang now a restaurant.
St. Michael's Church, also known as Dongjiaomin Catholic Church was built in 1902.
The twin-spired, Gothic-style church served as the place of Christian worship for the French community of Beijing. The church was closed in 1958 and did not reopen again until 1989.
St. Michael's is known for its beautiful stained glass windows. Mass is held from 6.30am on weekdays and at 7am, 8am and 6pm on Sundays. English services are held on Fridays and Sundays.
Map of Beijing Legation Quarter, 1912, University of Texas Library
The arched gate of the entrance to the former Japanese legation still stands on Zhengyi Lu near the British Legation, which is now part of State Security buildings and heavily policed and photography unwelcome. The Huafeng Hotel, south on Zhengyi Lu, is now a run-of-the mill business hotel but occupies the former site of the Grand Hotel des Wagon-Lits and dates back to 1905.
The former grand American Citibank building has been converted into Beijing's Police Museum.
Foreign Legation Quarter Access
St. Michael's Church
Tel: 651 35170
Sunday Mass: 7.00am, 8.00am, 6.00pm
Weekday Mass: 6.30am
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