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Guangzhou, China Attractions

Sacred Heart Cathedral

With financing from the French government of Emperor Napoleon III, construction on the Sacred Heart Cathedral began in 1861, and the first services were held in 1888. The cathedral is noteworthy for two major challenges involving its construction. There was no machinery available in Guangzhou at the time to handle the granite, and the French managers were unable to communicate directions to the Chinese workers, who had never seen a cathedral and had no idea what they were building. Design influences include the Basilica of Saint Clothilde in Paris and the Toul Cathedral. Today’s visitors who go to Sacred Heart Cathedral admire the largest gothic cathedral in southeast Asia, and one of the few cathedrals in the world built entirely of granite.

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