A small hill about an hours drive southwest of Shanghai. On its peak is the impressive Sheshan Zhongjiaotang, Sheshan Cathedral, a Catholic cathedral which is very active to day. In the days of the Foreign Concessions in Shanghai Sheshan was known as Sikawei or Siccawei. The cathedral is a great attraction for Catholics all over China and on any Sunday many pilgrims visit.|
China's first modern observatory the Siccawei Observatory was built by Jesuit missionaries in 1872 in the western Siccawei (Xujiahui) area.Legend has it that the missionaries chose Siccawei because it was where Hsu Kwang-ch'i (Xu Guangqi) lived. Xu was the friend and student of Matteo Ricci. He left all his property in Siccawei to the Jesuits after his death, to show his gratitude.
At the very beginning, the observatory was only a bungalow, with simple and crude instruments. In 1879, the Jesuits expanded the first observatory. They set up a wooden tower, 33 metres in height, for observation. An anemoscope was placed on top of the tower. Later the Siccawei observatory did not have enough room, so a larger one was built on Sheshan Hill in 1890. The observatory tracked typhoons and storm centres, and gave advance warning of their approach.