The Stone Church in Tam Dao

In Tam Dao there is an ancient stone church which is a lasting masterpiece of stone construction in the middle of a poetic and picturesque landscape.

Tam Dao Church is located on a slope leading to the peak of Thien Nhi in the centre of Tam Dao Town, Vinh Phuc Province. Thanks to its favourable position, the majestic and imposing church can be seen from every place in the town.

The church was built in 1906 as a modest stilt house and was rebuilt in 1937 with stone in Gothic style. It is one of the four most famous stone churches in Vietnam with the others being Phat Diem Church (Ninh Binh), Sa Pa Church (Lao Cai) and Nha Trang Church (Khanh Hoa).

The building has kept intact its stunning beauty over time. Cool and cloudy weather in the mountainous area has added a layer of moss on the stone walls with a grey colour while the stone construction makes the church even more archaic.

The stone church in Tam Dao was built in 1937 in Gothic style. Photo: Viet Cuong/VNP

The archaic chancel lies in the middle of a chayote garden. Photo: Viet Cuong/VNP

Religious ceremonies often take place inside the chancel. Photo: Viet Cuong/VNP

A glass mosaic describing the birth of Jesus on the arch of the chancel. Photo: Viet Cuong/VNP

Over time, a layer of moss has covered the church’s walls. Photo: Viet Cuong/VNP

From the arches in the church’s yard, one can view the whole beautiful town of Tam Dao. Photo: Viet Cuong/VNP
The chancel inside is simply furnished with many arched windows which are decorated with glass mosaics describing tales about Jesus Christ. There isn’t any pillar in the middle of the chancel as often seen at other churches.

To the left of the chancel’s door is a stone bell tower of 18m in height. Each side of the tower is decorated with a holy cross surrounded by red brick.

There is a large yard outside surrounded by arched walls. From there, one can view the whole town of Tam Dao with its villas, hotels, guesthouses, markets and chayote gardens in a thin foggy layer.

During the anti-French resistance war when implementing the scorched earth policy, people had to withdraw from the town and all the facilities had to be destroyed, except the church that was untouched according to Uncle Ho’s instruction of not violating the people’s belief. This is the reason why the church has remained. In 2008, the church was repaired and named Queen of Peace Church.

Nowadays, Tam Dao Church is an interesting destination for visitors coming to this tranquil town.

Story: Bich Van – Photos: Viet Cuong