Unique Churches – The Catholic Church, Shangyanjing Village, Markam county, Tibet Autonomous Region, southwest China.

The Catholic Church, Shangyanjing (Upper Salt Well) Village, Markam county, southwest China, Tibet Autonomous Region

Yanjing, literally means “salt well”, is a county situated in north of chamdo. It is famous for producing salt for over 1,000 years. 300 m long the either bank of Zachu River, there are thousands of salt fields and dozens of salt wells where salt steam and mist are surrounded. Light-green salt ponds, snow-white salt fields, sky-blue river water, green trees and colorful flowers blossom on hills

The Yanjing Catholic Church, built in 1865 by French Missionary Felix Biet, the whitewashed structure has two crosses on its outer walls, Yanjing Catholic Church is built with earth and timber in Tibetan style, covering an area of 6,008 sq. m. The church, a rare combination of Western and Tibetan architectural styles, has a typical Gothic vault and wall paintings featuring the contents of Bible on the ceiling in the inside, but looks like a common Tibetan-style residence in the outside. After the church was built, clashes between its followers and those of a nearby lamasery were common. The clashes reached a peak in the 1940s when armed lamas took over the church. The church was not returned to Catholic hand until 1951 after many local Catholics had asked the local authorities, the Qamdo People’s Liberation Committee, to return it to them. The church became an elementary and middle school during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976). In the late 1980s, the church was renovated. There are over 900 people living in Yanjing Village – mainly Tibetans with a few Naxi ethnic people. The Catholics number over 740 including over 600 locals. Catholics in the village still regard the Tibetan New Year’s Day as the start for a new year; missionaries are dressed in Tibetan-style clothes; and the Catholic followers use the world’s only Tibetan-Edition of Bible.

5 thoughts on “Unique Churches – The Catholic Church, Shangyanjing Village, Markam county, Tibet Autonomous Region, southwest China.

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