One attractive destination making visitors contemplate is St. Joseph’s Cathedral. Not only is it the most ancient but also it is the most enormous Catholic church in Hanoi.. It comes as a big surprise to any tourists that why there is such a monumental church standing out in the centre of Hanoi capital whose country is in favor of Buddhism. The church was one of the first structures built by the French government to serve almost 4 million Catholics in the country.
A constraining trade off between a pagoda and a church
The Cạthedral was constructed in 1886 and opened to the public in the year later. With the aim of building this structure, the French government had to vanish the Bao Thien pagoda- one of four the most sacred pagodas in Vietnam at that time. People find it quite fantastic since it was inspired from the architectural style of Notre Dame de Paris but it stills brings Vietnamese cultural and traditional identities.
A wonderful succession of the flourishing architecture style in a church
In front of the cathedral is a statue simulating the image of Regina Pacis holding St Joseph in her arms and a small flower garden. It is the garden to make the entire scene of the church get closer to nature which is somehow familiar to Vietnamese people. Remarkably, there is a large courtyard between the church and the garden. It seems to be an ideal playground and gathering space for different kinds of people, especially for Christians to congregate every weekdays so that they can listen to hymns and pray. Also, visitors are likely to listen to the sound of the church bell each 15 minutes a time.
The cathedral was constructed with stone slabs, the facade consisted of two towers, rising to a height of 31 metre, each tower fitted with five bells. The external walls of the church were made of granite stone, together with its appearance, it makes people feel not only ancient and dilapidated but artistic as well.
Moving to the inside of the church, it is for sure that tourists will wallow in cozy space with fanciful lights and sparkling candles. The ceiling is rib vaulted, the naver is weathered. The sanctuary looks shinny and made of gilt trimmed wood. It is decorated in the traditional folk art combined with wooden engraved red lacquer, which is the highlight of the cathedral. Along with spacious area creating the harmonious ambience right inside the heart of the church, the stained glass windows depicting various Christian themes and Christian atmosphere can take visitors’ breath away. There are countless lines of benches for Christians to take a seat and pray for rosary. Only by doing that can people find the peace of their mind and get the feeling of being smaller than ever.
Before you go
One notation that visitors should bear in mind is that the church is rarely opened except on Saturday and Sunday. So if they want to get inside the church, pay a visit on weekdays since the church is barricaded. But don’t worry even if visitors are not allowed to pass through. Instead of sitting inside the church, they can take a seat in the sidewalks nearby the church, simultaneously, enjoy a cup of lemon tea and are immersed themselves in the tranquil and eye-catching scenery of the cathedral.