With Gothic style, the time-honored church of the Roman Catholic Church is located in the heart of Hanoi.
Overview of the Hanoi Cathedral
With the official name of the church St. Joseph’s Cathedral, Hanoi Cathedral, also called the cathedral of the General The Diocese of Hanoi, is one of the earliest Catholic buildings in Vietnam and one of the most beautiful churches in the capital.
From Bao Thien Pagoda to Hanoi Cathedral
If you search Vietnam Tourist Information, you could find that the site of Hanoi Church built today is the foundation of Bao Thien Pagoda (the full name is the Sung Khanh Bao Thien Thien Pagoda) – the famous temple is considered as the National Pagoda. Bao Thien Pagoda was built from the Ly dynasty, under the reign of King Ly Thanh Tong, in 1057.
The pagoda was great, ancient and magnificent. During the Ly dynasty for nearly 400 years, Bao Thien Pagoda is a famous spiritual place, the center of Buddhism in the capital of Dai Viet.
In the 15th century, Thien Bao pagoda was destroyed by the Ming army, many valuable treasures were lost and damaged. Restored under the Le Dynasty, but at the end of the 18th century the pagoda had a large fire, so the monks moved to other places. The temple became deserted.
In 1873, after the French invaded Hanoi, Bao Thien pagoda was entrusted to Bishop Puginier by the French. The bishop set up a few wooden houses to stay and work on the old foundation of the pagoda. In 1882, the French occupied Hanoi for the second time.
In 1883, at the request of the northern governor Raoul Bonnal, the North Vietnamese governor, Nguyen Huu Do, assigned construction of Hanoi Cathedral on the foundation of the temple to Bishop Puginier.
The church was built of brick replacing the old wooden architecture, from 1884 to 1886, in the context of Hanoi transformed into a new Western-style urban. Funds for the construction of churches were mobilized from the two lotteries and other sources.
It was inaugurated on Christmas Day in 1887. When newly completed, this place was still deserted. It was not until 1890 that Nha Tho street was built from the church directly to Guom Lake, the church had a prime location in the urban space.
Hanoi Cathedral – one of Hanoi famous architecture
St. Joseph’s Cathedral was designed in the style of European Gothic, influenced by the Notre Dame Cathedral (France).
The church has the length of 64.5m, the width of 20.5m and two 31.5-meter-towers, the facade layout is divided into three symmetric parts. The two towers are high up, in the middle is the lower block ended by the triangular wall with the cross.
Most of the doors and windows on the façade were built with the typical Gothic arch. The middle block has a circular flower window, above the cross also has a circular clock.
The windows are from colored glass, with the holy paintings, bringing natural light into the interior with magical colors.The church also has a Western bell, consisting of four small bells and a large bell, worth 20,000 francs at the time.
In front of the church, there is a small square with the statue of Mary, which adds to the landscape value for the building.
In general, the works are of European Gothic style, but still have a combination with the indigenous architecture shown in the system of terracotta roof tiles, the interior traditional Vietnamese decoration. So it is the special product of cultural exchange East-West.
This is the most attractive destination to many local people as well as visitors of Hanoi City Tour. Nowadays, this is not only the center of Hanoi’s Catholic activity but also an indispensable destination in the journey of each tourist when visiting the thousand year capital.
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