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  1. Cizhong Town and Cizhong Catholic Church,Deqin

Cizhong Catholic Church is located in Yanmen Township of Deqin County in southwest China's Yunnan Province. First built in 1867 and rebuilt in 1909, the Cizhong Catholic Church is a model which combines the architecture features of both western countries and China's Tibet, Han and Bai ethnic groups. The church and its wing-room, gate, cellar and grape yard were well preserved by local government. It was listed as the key national cultural protection relics by the State Council in 2006.


First built in 1867 and rebuilt in 1909, the Cizhong Catholic Church is a model which combines the architecture features of both western countries and China's Tibet, Han and Bai ethnic groups. The church and its wing-room, gate, cellar and grape yard were well preserved by local government. It was listed as the key national cultural protection relics by the State Council in 2006.


Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Yunnan Province, south of Deqin County town 80 km away from Shengping Liangya the Lancang River, a mountain of water, beautiful quiet small village - in Mainz. "Benz", meaning village, ", the Tibetan language. Jurisdiction of the first group of old village six villages, Gu Ming. Villagers mainly Tibetan, Naxi and Han nationalities of three. Here layers of terraced fields, tree-lined, Whenever the Spring and Autumn season, Huaguo Manshan, Zhengqidouyan and when the height of summer approaching, refreshing sense of Muyu, Qinrenxinpi. Mainz in the 2000 meters above sea level does not, the mild climate, the main production of rice, known as "Yumizhixiang" reputation .


Mainz village in the middle, standing in a French Catholic Church, which is December 21, 1987 the Provincial People's Government released by the provincial heritage conservation units - De Qinci in the Catholic Church. Catholic churches in the site about 15 km and South Africa Mainz Mainz Regardless of the village, 1867 (Tongzhi-2006) to build, 1905 (Qing Guangxu Sanshiyinian) in the flooding damaged Mainz Regardless of the Western church. After the Qing government compensation, in 1909 in Mainz in the construction of the church, completed in 1921, lasted 12 years, spent a huge amount of manpower, material and financial resources. After the completion of the church, that is, become a "zone of Yunnan Duo" Bishop Hall, has had a run schools and a female seminary. So far the church premises to retain and 1989 by the Government to allocate special funds for maintenance.


Cizhong Catholic Church complex is located in the lush hillside of trees, the back of Castle Peak, before Zuozuo farmhouse embellishment, construction groups and integration of the natural landscape, unique. The whole building to the church as the center combinations, Chinese and Western, primary and secondary appropriate, including doors, front yard, churches, and the backyard kiln, gardens, vegetable farms and vineyards, and so on, compact, spectacular scale. Along the door to a building outside the containment building around the room and open space, provide flower beds, planting Ceriops tagal, Red and Green Xiangying, Fuga chic.


Church blocks west to east, for masonry French (Gothic) construction, as a whole cross-section, wishful Tap Duo 1.30 meters high, arched gateway of the stone by 10%, into six meters deep, three meters wide, on top of porch Three-tiered clock tower rises (the main tower), 20 m-high. The top of the building for the booths Cuanjian Ding-wood structure construction, with four of the 12-and-ridge PURLIN support, both inside and outside, in between build a stone railing. Boarded the clock tower, panoramic view of Mainz in the scenery, but also considerable laid around the mountains. Church doors for the two-door, the GAO Ren 2.72 meters, 0.74 meters wide, the main hall (Chapel) into the 22 meters deep, Miankuo l2.7 metres, Diannei from row six square columns supporting the roof the church, both sides have Jingshen, Changing Ceshi. The church roof covered with glazed tile.


In the past, and in Mainz Jiangdong traffic entirely Liusuo, has built a suspension bridge cables troops from the town by car along the river downstream Shengping, South Khalid alight near the village of meters, the bridge can be reached. Where villagers proficient in Chinese.
About Cizhong in Deqin County
The Road from Feilai Si near Deqin winds its way to the bottom of the Langcang Valley (Mekong River Valley) in a series of dramatic hairpin bends. On the right the mystical mountain of Meili Xueshan teases and torments the traveller with rare glimpses of its summit and glaciers in a game of hide and seek in the monsoon summer months. For one second it’s there in all its majestic glory and then the next it’s gone, hidden behind swirling clouds or an impenetrable mist. As the road reaches the river at the bottom of the valley, the barren rock faces on the left that threatened to come crashing down on our puny vehicle give way to fertile green fields dotted by white villages and prayer flags. Welcome to one of the most romantic places in China; the tiny village of Cizhong in China’s South West Yunnan province.


The Village

While there are many other beautiful villages in the area, Cizhong stands out because of the lovely Catholic church that dominates the centre of the village and its surrounding vineyards. The church was built by French missionaries nearly a hundred years ago in a vaguely Gothic style, topped by a three- storey clock tower. Local influences such as the eaved roofs and glazed tiles that were incorporated into the structure, as well as the palm trees flanking its main entrance, lend it a distinctively exotic appearance. The views from the top of the tower over the village and the mountains are dazzling.


Inside, the church is quite austere, but for its ceiling which is painted in different shades of blue and decorated with a mixture of floral and Taoist motifs. Naive paintings showing the different stages of the Way of the Cross hang from the walls with Chinese characters underneath, telling the story. The church benches, which are raised no more than 20 centimetres from the floor, are uncomfortably low for Westerners, unused to squatting, and the sight of the prayer books in Chinese lining them seems incongruous to our eyes.


With its church dominating the village you might think that Cizhong is a uniquely Christian village. However, nothing could be further from the truth. The village is made up of Christians and Buddhists. It seems difficult to get a consensus as to whether there are more of one or the other, or whether the village population is evenly split. The family with whom we had lunch claimed that Cizhong was divided 50/50 and that included them as well, since the husband was Christian and his wife Buddhist. Relations between both communities were obviously good, evidenced by the fact that both groups share each others festivals.


For those who wish to explore further, there are numerous stone paths leading out of the village towards the mountains or to other villages that offer great hiking possibilities. On your way you’ll pass locals picking fruit or harvesting their crops, which at the moment are the main sources of livelihood for the villagers. Wine production and a budding tourist industry promise a more prosperous future for Cizhong’s residents.


The Wine

Apart from its natural beauty, Cizhong has an added bonus. Wine. And plenty of it. The missionaries originally planted the vines in order to have wine for Mass. The locals have kept up the tradition and many house in the village openly sell it. The actual wine produced and sold in Cizhong is certainly not your classic Burgundy or Bordeaux; the taste is somewhat sour, a bit like grape juice with alcohol, but definitely pleasant.

However, the areas wine potential hasn’t gone unnoticed by experts either. Recently one of Beijing’s largest wine companies, Jinliufu Wine C. Ltd., took over the Yunnan Shanglila Winery and invested large sums of money in developing what is now being marketed as Tibetan Dry Red Wine. According to the company, the wine making process both incorporates the brewing techniques brought in by the French missionaries and the traditional methods of the Tibetans. The result is quite a decent red wine. It is much more refined than the cruder version sold in the houses in Cizhong, and for body, aroma and taste it can compete with many cheap Spanish and French reds. If you are in Zhongdian, don’t miss the opportunity to try it with the locally produced yak cheese at the Shangri-la Cheese Shop.



Cizhong belongs to a region undergoing a huge transformation. The isolated valleys of the Langcang and Nujiang rivers are becoming ever more accessible and inevitable changes are on the way. The label of Shangrila, imposed on the whole Zhongdian area by the Chinese Tourist Board, is already drawing increasing numbers of tourists to this environmentally and culturally delicate region. While undoubtedly a haven for hikers, trekkers and anybody genuinely interested in exploring nature, a destination for busloads of camera toting tourists it is not!


On a different, but equally worrying note, it appears that some fundamentalist American Christian groups are looking to open up this area and use it in their – religious - battle against the Chinese Government. While Cizhong and the surrounding areas cannot stop the world from intruding on their isolation, they deserve better than to be used as a proxy in a crazy religious war.

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