West Sheshan Park, set against the backdrop of the Sheshan National Forest Park, is a haven of tranquility and cultural richness in East China's Shanghai.
Let's take a leisurely stroll through the park, where nature and history intertwine to create a truly enchanting experience.
The Xiudaozhe Tower is a seven-story wood-brick structure located on the eastern slope of West Sheshan Park. Constructed during the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127), it has endured for over 1,000 years, surviving wars and natural disasters. The tower is named after Monk Xiu, who is believed to have participated in its construction and set himself on fire upon its completion.
The tower is also known as the Sisters Tower, in a legend from the Song Dynasty (960-1279). Three sisters, escaping undesirable marriages, commissioned a hermit to build the tower. They became nuns, living in seclusion for the rest of their lives. Legends suggest that cries from the tower can be heard, attributed either to the sisters' pleas not to be sent home or the sounds produced by wind passing through the building's holes and cracks. While the latter explanation is more plausible, the tale nonetheless adds intrigue to the back history.
Today, Xiudaozhe Tower is recognized as a cultural heritage protection place in Shanghai due to its high architectural value.
Lush greenery surrounds Xiudaozhe Tower. [Photo/WeChat account: sheshanlvyoutopnews]
Sheshan Catholic Church
Situated halfway up West Sheshan Park, Sheshan Catholic Church has a rich history dating back to 1844. It was founded by French missionary Ningue Paul, who surveyed the area for the church's construction. In 1863, Joseph Gonnet, the president of the International Society of Jesus, built a five-room single-story house on the mountainside as a resting place for missionaries. By 1894, the church had expanded into a sizable structure, capable of accommodating over 500 followers.
In front of the church, there is a spacious oval square capable of hosting more than 1,000 people. The square offers panoramic views, allowing visitors to enjoy the scenery. The church experiences increased foot traffic on special days, such as the Month of Mary, attracting hordes of visitors who come to participate in religious activities and enjoy the serene surroundings.
The magnificent catholic church in West Sheshan Park. [Photo/WeChat account: sheshanlvyoutopnews]
Founded in 1899 by French missionaries, the Sheshan Observatory witnessed the evolution of astronomy in the Shanghai region. Today, it houses China's earliest large astronomical telescope, a 40 centimeter double-refracting telescope from Paris. The observatory, now a national-level cultural heritage site, hosts the Shanghai Astronomy Museum, a fascinating blend of historical exhibits and scientific education.
The Shanghai Astronomy Museum founded in the Sheshan Observatory in 2004. [Photo/WeChat account: sheshanlvyoutopnews]