When people outside Japan hear the word “Nagasaki,” they often think only of the atomic bombing. This tragic event seems to have obliterated not only much of the city, but also global awareness about its rich and fascinating past.

Being proposed for UNESCO World Heritage status in 2016 are a collection of historical sites which tell of the city’s unique Christian history. These sites bear outstanding witness to Christianity’s development within the Nagasaki region over a period of four centuries. They speak of how Christianity briefly flourished there following its introduction in the mid-16th century, of how it was subsequently banned and forced underground, and of how it remarkably resurfaced over two centuries later and was revived with strength and speed across the Nagasaki region following the lifting of the ban on Christianity in 1873.

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