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A hundred years ago, French missionaries ventured into landlocked valleys of Yunnan province to share their religion. A century later, the churches that remain in these regions continue to thrive. Cizhong Catholic Church, where service in Tibetan is still held every Sunday, is the most beautiful of these churches, even after many years of disrepair. Songtsam Lodge Cizhong sits in this lovely Tibetan village, surrounded by the grapevine-covered slopes of local vineyards.
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At an altitude of 1,800 metres at the base of the Upper Mekong River valley, Cizhong lies in a fertile green field dotted by prayer flags, farmhouses, and waterfalls. A hundred years ago, French missionaries ventured overland to northern Yunnan province, the gateway to the heartland of Tibetan Buddhism. A century later, the churches in these regions are still thriving.
Cizhong Catholic Church is the most beautiful of these churches. First built in 1867 and rebuilt in 1909, the building combines Gothic features with characteristic of Chinese architecture. Despite many years of disrepair, the structure remains, and some of the wall paintings and facade have survived the Cultural Revolution. Services in Tibetan are held every Sunday.
The village community includes both Christians and Buddhists, with the two groups living peacefully together. Numerous hiking routes take you into the mountains.