Exploring the Unique Du Sinh Church

As Catholic churches go, Du Sinh church in Da Lat has architecture that might not be seen anywhere else. That peculiarity does not only serve as a tourist magnet but also reflects the fascinating cultural and religious life of the Vietnamese people.

The Du Sinh church, located on Huyen Tran Cong Chua street in Da Lat city, was built in 1956 and inaugurated on Christmas of 1957. The church’s exterior bears resemblance to a traditional Vietnamese temple, with its simple gate and unique architectural features. The entrance to the cathedral is connected by a ramp divided into 5 levels, and a pair of giant cement dragons can be seen from the bell tower floor to the gate.

Du Sinh church in Da Lat has unique architecture. Photo: Thanh Hoa/VNP

The bell tower is designed with four main columns in the shape of a golden bamboo tree. Photo: Thanh Hoa/VNP

The bell tower of Du Sinh church embodies unique beauty. Photo: Thanh Hoa/VNP

Two dragons and the bell form a traditional Vietnamese triangulation pattern, distinguishing this Catholic church. Photo: Thanh Hoa/VNP

Parishioners intently listen to the priest’s homily. Photo: Thanh Hoa/VNP

The church is surrounded by trees and flowers. Photo: Thanh Hoa/VNP

In front of the cathedral sits the bell tower, featuring a shoe-shaped tile roof that curves upwards at each corner. Two towers, constructed in the same style and adorned with holy statues, can be found on either side of the bell tower, forming a three-point structure next to the three-door gate.

The cathedral itself is a large two-story building with brick walls and a red tile roof, reflecting traditional Vietnamese architectural style. The exterior of the cathedral is accompanied by two long corridors on both sides, with bamboo decorations covering the large columns and circular cells in the shape of the “Tho” character (symbolizing longevity) adorning the surrounding corridors, reminiscent of Vietnamese temples and pagodas.

What sets Du Sinh church apart is the incorporation of dragon imagery, a feature not commonly found in Catholic churches. The dragons, however, have been modified from their traditional appearance and now depict “Two dragons adore St. Joseph holding Baby Jesus” instead of the traditional “two dragons adore the moon” pattern seen in Vietnamese palaces, communal houses, and pagodas.

Many believe that the unique East-West architecture of Du Sinh church is attributed to the vision and cultural background of its chief architect, Bishop Buu Duong. As a member of the Nguyen Dynasty’s royal lineage and a former Buddhist scholar, Bishop Buu Duong brought together his Eastern cultural knowledge and Christian faith to create this remarkable structure.

By Thanh Hoa – Translated by Hong Hanh