Hanoi Cathedral is at No.40 Nha Chung Street, Hoan Kiem District, and Hanoi. It was built on the site of the former Bao Thien Tower, which was famous in the ancient capital of Thang Long under the Ly Dynasty (the 11th and 12th centuries).
Hanoi Cathedral, also known as Saint Joseph's Cathedral, was inaugurated on Christmas Day 1886, two years after its construction. Its design is similar to the architecture of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Many catholic rituals have been held there. A ritual ceremony dedicated to Jesus Christ is held in this cathedral every year on March 19.
The special thing is that space around Hanoi Cathedral is an ideal meeting place for local residents in Hanoi, especially youngsters, to get away from the bustle and noise of the city. When it gets darker, groups of friends flock to the space to enjoy themselves. To enjoy this kind of entertainment, you can feast and drink with your friends in this open space. The bell striking from the church at meditative moments sways your mind. That is a great and romantic feeling. Young people have flocked to the cathedral because the church view and tranquil street corners will fuel their romantic liaison. Couples hand in hand show their love. Others regard it as a playground for chatting or a stage for music performances.
Many famous artists and movie stars can be seen in this special place. Pianist Pho An My has the habit of sitting in the church yard to enjoy a cup of tea with ice and play her favorite pieces. 'It is not necessary to go to the theatre to enjoy a music concert; a pageant show will undoubtedly bring a wind of change to the audience', said the famous artist.
If you are a young person in Hanoi or nearby, you should not miss a chance to discover the underlying real scene of the city by once setting your foot into the space of Hanoi Cathedral
Phat Diem cathedral
Phat Diem Cathedral is located 130km south of Hanoi and 28km southeast of Ninh Binh, Phat Diem Cathedral was built between 1875 and 1899 and consists of a network of ponds, lakes, churches, and artificial caves.
Phuong Dinh Church, part of the Phat Diem complex, is a giant building entirely made of stone. Numerous stone sculptures are on the inside and outside walls. A large bell cast in the 1890s weighing nearly 2 tons is found in the bell tower.
Phat Diem Cathedral was built in 1891 with four roofs and six sets of iron wooden pillars. On both sides of the church are four smaller churches of different styles. On the extreme north corner are three stone caves. The most beautiful of these caves is Lo Duc cave. Phat Diem Cathedral is the center of Catholicism in North Vietnam and also a tourist site attracting foreign and domestic visitors.
The cathedral of Phat Diem seems to have changed very little since Graham Greene described its gigantic pillars formed out of single trees and the scarlet lacquer work of the altar, more Buddhist than Christian' in his 1955 classic The Quiet American. Indeed, with its multi-tiered, curling roofs and its 48 lime-wood columns - (the largest of which weigh seven tones), Phat Diem is a far cry from a European cathedral. Stone relief angels overlook carved dragons and the cathedral's two tones bell is accompanied by a giant brass gong.
In the area surrounding this massive stone and wood cathedral, the rice paddies are peppered with stone churches. But, unlike these structures, built by Europeans and resembling typical churches of the era, Phat Diem Cathedral was designed by a Vietnamese priest, known as Father Sau Between 1875 and 1899, Father Sau rallied the local population to build the cathedral, five side chapels, three artificial grottoes, an artificial lake and a bell tower. He died the same year as the complex was finished.
Local Catholics view the cathedral's survival as almost miraculous; a bombing in 1972 flattened two of the side chapels and caused the cathedral to lean by some 20 degrees. Despite the ongoing war, restoration started immediately and today, the only obvious trace of the bombing is the destruction of some intricate stone carvings.
The best day to visit Phat Diem is on a Sunday, when the district's roads are full of people, walking or cycling towards the cathedral or one of the dozens of neighboring churches. And on Christmas Eve, an unforgettable midnight mass, attended by thousands and accompanied by a brass band, is held in the cathedral grounds.
Phu Cam Cathedral
Location: Phu Cam Cathedral is situated at Phuoc Vinh Ward, Hue City.
Characteristic: Phu Cam Cathedral was built in a modern architectural style, designed by the architect Ngo Viet Duc.
In early 1963, the construction of the cathedral was built. To 1965 only the Saint Palace was built and then to 1967, the cathedral was basically completed. Supporting pillars were concreted closely attached to the walls and gradually bended ahead. The three supporting pillars at each of four corners stretch out and create a fairly large space to embrace the whole of Saint Palace and Saint Altar.
The Saint Palace is a round shape with footsteps and on the top there is a smaller round shape with the altar made of marble bloc. Temporary house was closely built to the backstage of the cathedral fitted in the concave part behind and settle on a high platform in the center. In the two wings of the crucifix, there is the tomb of the former archbishop Philippe Nguyen Kim Dien (1921-1988) in the left and in the opposite right - the altar for presenting the Saint.
In front of the Phu Cam Main Cathedral there are two mounding statues: the right is the Saint Phero, the left is Saint Paulo and other missionaries of the Phu Cam diocese. The open-space of Phu Cam main cathedral looks like an opening-mouth-dragon and in general Phu Cam Cathedral with its top perpendicularly stretching to the sky is very purified and full of artistic and religious characters.
Duc Ba Cathedral
The Duc Ba (Our Ladys) Cathedral is the spiritual and cultural crucible of the Vietnamese in Ho Chi Minh City.
After the first French colonizing force arrived in Viet Nam in the mid-19th Century, it took only 21 years before the country had a cathedral to match the hulking Gothic edifices of France itself. The cathedral is supposed to represent the glory of the French Empire. Yet, as is always the case with colonization, this attempt to import French traditions into Viet Nam transformed the colonizers' culture in the process. Even though the cathedral is built in a Western architectural style, it has a uniquely Eastern aspect. The resplendent Governor's Palace, completed in 1875, symbolized the regime's political power in Asia.
And five years later, the Duc Ba (Our Lady's) Cathedral was inaugurated, and became the spiritual and cultural crucible of the French presence in the Orient. Several architects put forward design proposals for the cathedral, but in 1877 the authorities selected Mr Bourard, who was famed for his religious architecture. He envisaged, and executed, a basilica-like structure with a square plan. The church is composed of two main central bays with two sidereal corridors, with tall pillars and light coming in through sets of high windows, and a semi-circular shrine. The style follows a Roman pattern, although the outside contains some modifications: the cathedral's vaults are Gothic, and a modern steel skeleton supports the whole building.
In 1894 a pointed minaret was added to the bell tower, at the behest of an architect named Gardes, who was also responsible for the Xa Tay Palace, the building that now houses the Municipal People's Committee. The cathedral is a lot smaller than those in France, but it was the largest in the French empire. The interior is very large: the principal shrine and two additional bays are 93m long, and reach 35m in width at one point .The semi-circular shrine at the rear seats a choir during services, and there are five chapels .The walls are made of Bien Hoa granite, combined with red tiles from Marseilles, all without coating. Red tiles from France were also used on the roofs, but they were later replaced with tiles of equal quality from Phu Huu. Natural light streams in through stained-glass windows which were made by the Lorin Company from the French town of Sartre.
The whole building is well-ventilated thanks to a system of air-holes placed above and under the windows. The belfry is 57m high. For a long time it was the highest structure in the city centre, and was the first thing an arriving traveler would see when approaching the city by boat. The cathedral bells weigh a combined 28,850kg.In 1885, the floor was taken apart and new pillars were added, because the original foundation could not bear the cathedral's weight. Stepping inside the cathedral, tourists see a line of Chinese characters eulogizing the Jesus' mother, 'the innocent and unblemished Virgin Mother', and stained-glass portraits of Vietnamese believers amid Asiatic plants. On the square in front of the cathedral, there is a statue of the Virgin Mother made of white marble, symbolizing peace. All told, it's an unusual building: a Western architectural and religious style that has been transplanted into, and adapted to, the East. The colonizers were trying to impose French beliefs and customs onto Viet Nam; but once that culture arrived on Asia's shores, it took on a life of its own. The cathedral is seen as a unique synthesis, adding an unmistakable Oriental flavor to an ancient Occidental recipe.
La Vang Cathedral
Our Lady of La' Vang is the central and national shrine of Vietnam, located approximately 55 miles from the former capitol Hue. The name is derived from a type of fern which used to grow in great quantities in the region.
During much of the 18th century, Vietnam was embattled in various struggles for power and domination. The northern regions of the kingdom fell under the authority of the lords of the Trinh family, while in the southern realm the Nguyen lords took power. As the 18th century drew toward a close, both of their rules were shaken and threatened by peasant uprisings and emerging rebel forces.
King Canh Thinh knew that Nguyen Anh received support from the French missionary, and worried that the Vietnamese Catholics would also endorse his reign. He began to restrict the practice of Catholicism in Vietnam. On August 17, 1798, King Canh Thinh issued an anti-Catholic edict and an order to destroy all Catholic churches and seminaries. A horrendous persecution of Vietnamese Catholics ensued and lasted until 1886. Even after Nguyen Anh succeeded in reclaiming his throne as King Gia Long (1802-1820), his three successors renewed the vehement campaign against Catholics. These emperors ordered horrific punishments from torture to death.
During this horrible persecution, many Catholics fled into the dense jungle forest in the central region of Vietnam near what is now known as Quang Tri. Here they suffered from the bitter cold, wild animals, great hunger and deadly sicknesses, and prepared themselves for martyrdom. At night they would gather into groups and pray in common, especially the Most Holy Rosary.
Unexpectedly, one night there appeared to all of them a beautiful Lady in a long cape, holding a Child in Her arms, with two angels at her sides. The apparition was surrounded by numerous small twinkling lights. She presented herself as the Mother of God, encouraged and consoled them, and gave them a special sign of her maternal loving care. Our Lady told them to boil the fern leaves from the surrounding trees to use for medicine. She further promised that from that day on, all those who came to this place to pray would have their prayers heard, and their petitions granted.
After the persecution in 1802, the Catholics lef their jungle hiding place and returned to their villages. Word of the apparitions of Our Lady of La' Vang spread among the people and out to other regions. Despite its desolate location in the high mountains, groups of people continued to find ways to penetrate the deep and dangerous jungle to obtain the promised intercession of the Blessed Virgin. The pilgrims came with axes, spears, canes, and drums to scare away the wild animals. They also carried flags, flowers, and rosaries. The pilgrimages continued every year, despite the religious persecutions.
Among many groups of Vietnamese Catholics that were burnt alive because of their Faith, was a group of 30 people who were seized after they came out of hiding in the forest of La' Vang. At their request, their executions took them to the spot of the apparitions and killed them there. In 1885, the chapel was destroyed by anti-Catholic fanatics.
In 1886, after the persecution had officially ended, Bishop Gaspar ordered a church to be built in honor of Our Lady of La' Vang. Because of its precarious location and limited funding, it took 15 years for the church to be completed. It was consecrated by the Bishop himself in a solemn ceremony that lasted from August 6th to August 8th, 1901, with over 12,000 people in attendance. The Bishop proclaimed Our Lady of La' Vang to be the Protectress of the Catholics. In 1928, a larger church was built to accommodate the increasing number of pilgrims.
On June 19, 1988, Pope John Paul II, during the canonization ceremony for the 117 Vietnamese Martyrs, publicly and repeated recognized the importance and significance of Our Lady of La' Vang, and expressed a desire to renovate the La' Vang Basilica in commemoration of the of the coming 200th anniversary of the first apparition of Mary there.
With this completed, and over 100,000 pilgrims in attendance at La' Vang in August 1998 for the 200th anniversary celebrations, the Holy Father said, 'In visiting the Shrine of Our Lady of La' Vang, Who is so loved by the Vietnamese faithful, pilgrims come to entrust to Her their joys and sorrows, their hopes and sufferings. In this way, they call on God and become intercessors for their families and nation, asking the Lord to infuse in the heart of all people feelings of peace, fraternity, and solidarity, so that all the Vietnamese will be more united every day in the construction of a world based on essential spiritual and moral values, where each one will be recognized because of his dignity as a son of God, and be able to also go in freedom and a son toward the Father of Heaven, 'rich in Mercy'.'.