Vietnam's iconic churches

Thanh Nien News

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1. Phat Diem Church, the northern province of Ninh Binh
Also known as the Rock Church, the Catholic complex in Kim Son District is famous for its marriage of Vietnamese and Western architecture.
The campus contains a main church and five satellite chapels, as well as three man-made caves; the cathedral also has a three-story building that resembles the traditional communal house found in Vietnamese villages.
A one-hectare pond is situated in front of the cathedral, in keeping with the principles of Feng Shui.
Some of the chapels have curved and tiled roofs typical of Buddhist temples; each crucifix features a lotus at its base, like Buddha statues.
Overall, the whole structure covers some 22 hectares and was built with stone and wood over 30 years, starting in 1875.
2. Phu Nhai Church, the northern province of Nam Dinh
Officially known as the Basilica of Immaculate Conception, Phu Nhai is the largest gothic church in Vietnam.
The building covers 2,160 square meters and rises roughly 30 meters of the ground. It is flanked by two 44-meter bell towers and contains four imported French bells that weigh as much as two tons each.
The church, which is located in Xuan Phuong Commune, Xuan Truong District, was first built in 1866 as a small temple, but was later renovated and expanded.
3. Tra Co Church, the northern province of Quang Ninh
The ancient-looking church in Mong Cai Town was built in the 1880s, but was severely damaged during Vietnam's wars. It underwent a massive rennovation in 1995.
It features hundreds of ancient reliefs and an 80-year-old bell.
4. Big Church, Hanoi
Its official name is St. Joseph’s Cathedral, but it is better known as the Big Church, because it is the largest Catholic building in the capitol.
The gothic structure, located in Hoan Kiem District, was built in 1884 and completed three years later. It is 64.5 meters long, and 20.5 meters wide, and has two bell towers that are 31.5 meters high each.
5. Mang Lang Church, the central province of Phu Yen
One of Vietnam’s oldest churches, the gothic structure was built in 1892. Inside its walls are painted in brownish yellow. It features colorful stained glass windows, wood-panelled ceilings and ancient lanterns.
The first book to be printed in the modern Vietnamese script (a catechism) is housed inside. The book was written by Alexandre de Rhodes, a French Jesuit missionary and lexicographer who is believed to have played an important role in the creation of Vietnam's modern Latin script.
6. Kon Tum Church, the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai
The century-old structure is considered the largest wooden church in Vietnam, so it is also known as the Wooden Church.
While its architecture is typical of the Romanesque style of Europe, it is still affected by the local ethnic culture whose presence can be found in sculpted decorative details, and the way beams and columns are tightly joined without nails or any kind of glue.
Moreover, the church’s elevated floor is about one meter higher than the surrounding corridor, reminding people of Ba Na tribe’s traditional stilt house.
7. Buon Ho Church, the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak
First built in 1970 and renovated in 2008, the gothic church is considered one of the most beautiful in the Central Highlands province.
With an area of some 1,260 square meters, it is located on a hill in Buon Ho Town, Krong Buk. Its rear chapel is built entirely out of stone.
8. Rooster Church, the Central Highlands Town of Da Lat
The resort town’s biggest church is officially named Saint Nicolas Cathedral. But, it is better known as Rooster Church, a nickname that refers to a big rooster statue situated on the top of its bell tower which is 47 meters high and can be seen from almost anywhere in the town.
Built between 1931 and 1942, it is also one of Da Lat’s oldest structures.
The church, which measures 65-meter long and 14-meter wide, was built in the Romanesque architecture style. Its 70 stained glass windows were all made in France.
9. Mountain Church, the central beach town of Nha Trang
Located on a hill in the center of the famous resort town, the gothic church was built between 1929 and 1935 and measures 36 meters by 20 meters with a 28-meter tall bell tower.
It was built with cement and a kind of brick that made from cement and gravel. Since the church is nearly unpainted, many people incorrectly assumed it to be built out of stone; for this reason, it is also known as the Rock Church.
10. Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica, Ho Chi Minh City
Situated at the center of Vietnam’s busiest city, the church’s ancient appearance creates a striking contrast to its modern surroundings.
Built between 1877 and 1880, the structure measures 93 meters long, 35 meters wide, and 75 meters high. Every brick in the building was imported from France.

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