Harbin is the jewel in Dongbei’s crown (North-East China), and possesses a rich history of occupation by different ethnicities, most notably the Manchus and the Russians. This manifests itself in the architecture, particularly that of the city’s many churches catering to Orthodox, Catholic, Christian and Jewish faiths, which embody a very European style, much unlike anything else you’ll see in other parts of China.
Church of St Sophia
1) Church of St Sophia圣·索菲亚教堂 View In Map
The Church of St Sophia is in the city’s Daoli District and was first founded in 1907. The original structure was made completely of wood, but has since been reconstructed in stone. It faces the Church of St Sophia Square, and since completion it was a known centre of entertainment in Harbin, before housing the Harbin Museum of Architectural Art, and a famous city landmark. With a solid outline cast by the deep redbrick outer walls, the church is imposing and grand, and features designs of crucifixes on all sides with a domed cupola (heavy Russian influence). The building has four levels inside with doors on each side, and the main entrance tower houses seven church bells which can be rung by hand.
Add: 5 Jingweitou Avenue, Daoli District, Harbin
Entrance fee: Adults: 20 RMB/Children (and students): 10 RMB
Tel: 0451 8467 9456/0451, 8468 6904
Opening times: 08:00-18:00
Getting there: Take bus 101 or 103 to Hayibai station, or take 116 to the Architectural Art Square.
2) Hallelujah Church哈利路亚教堂 View In Map
Work started on the Hallelujah Church on the 11th of November 1998, and it was finally completed on August 29th 2000. There are three floors which altogether can hold up to 3,000 people, making it one of the top ten places to worship in Harbin; furthermore it’s the largest church in Dongbei and the third largest venue for Christian worship nationwide. The style is a combination of East and West, blending classical Gothic and contemporary styles, forming an impressive edifice. The Hallelujah Church actually operates as a multi-function venue, with local choir (the Hosanna Choir), chapel choir, wedding choir, art groups, logistics groups, Sunday school, music classes, dance classes and language classes (phew!)
Add: 147 Youfang Jie, Xiangfang District, Harbin
Entrance fee: Free
Tel: 045 1515 9752/045 1510 5437
Opening times: Sunday: 08:00 & 13:00 & 17:00; Wednesday: 13:00 & 17:00; Saturday: 08:00
Getting there: Take bus 26, 70, 73 or 112 to Youfang Jie.
Harbin Orthodox Church
3) Harbin Orthodox Church哈尔滨东正教堂 哈尔滨市View In Map
In the downtown area of Harbin city, next to Christ’s Church, built in 1899, is one of the largest and earliest churches built in Harbin. The round main building has been built around an atrium made of red brick. It displays a large, central Byzantine-style dome (cupola) supported by thick arches. In addition, inside you can find a big church bell weighing 2,600 kg, cast in Moscow in 1899.
Add: Dacheng Jie and Huayuan Jie interchange, Harbin
Entrance fee: 20 RMB
Opening times: 08:00-18:00
Getting there: Take bus 14 or 88 to Harbin Orthodox Church station.
Gexin Jie Catholic Church
4) Gexin Jie Catholic Church革新街天主教堂 View In Map
Standing in the bustling downtown area at the intersection of south Guogeli Avenue and Gexin Street, the structure of this church is unique: a lofty façade crowned with a small dome; a sharp angular rear part with European style domed roof. This is another redbrick building adorned with rich decorations and intricate carvings on the outer walls, and standing atop the clock tower, you can see a wonderful view over Harbin city. The original name of the church was the Alekseyev Church, built in 1931 out of brick and wood, and was a classical example of Soviet architectural style: a complex and unique modeling process that creates an elegant and simple end-piece. The church was designed to work in aesthetic conjunction with the square in front of it. The church is split into two levels: upstairs is reserved for religious activities, and downstairs is for clergy and management living quarters.
Add: 47 Shike Jie, Gang District, Harbin (near Guogeli Avenue)
Entrance fee: Free
Opening times: 08:00-19:00
Getting there: Take the 7, 8, 17, 18, 62, 63, 71, 87, 109, 121 or 202 bus to Gexin Jie.
Harbin Sacred Heart of Jesus Cathedral
5) Harbin Sacred Heart of Jesus Cathedral哈尔滨耶稣圣心主教座堂 View In Map
Originally a Polish Slavic church that went by the name of St Stanislav Church, it was built by Polish nationals as a Catholic place of worship. After a period of neglect where it fell into disrepair, in 2004 the church was redeveloped as the current incarnation, the Harbin Sacred Heart of Jesus Cathedral, and now it is the largest Catholic cathedral in the whole province of Heilongjiang. The façade is presented as a Roman clock tower, and is supported on both sides by twin spires almost 52m tall! The interior is not only for worship, but you can also find religious arts, relics and paintings on display and some on sale.
Add: 211 Dongdazhi Jie, Harbin
Entrance fee: 3 RMB
Opening hours: 08:00-18:30
Getting there: Take bus 28, 51, 67, 69, 81, 208, 209, 217 or 338 and get off at Botanical Gardens.
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Keywords: Harbin churches places of worship in Harbin Chinese foreign architecture Harbin Cathedrals in Heilongjiang
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