Hanoi Cathedral

Built in the 1780s, Hanoi Cathedral is considered a witness to great changes of the capital of Vietnam for three centuries. Today, it is not only the centre for catholic activities, but also a popular tourist site in the land of a thousand-year-old culture.

Hanoi Cathedral always ranks first on the list of 7 famous cathedrals in Hanoi because of its old typical architecture and serene beauty.

Hanoi cathedral with original name of St. Joseph’s Cathedral was situated west of HoanKiem Lake in a small square within the Old Quarter. It serves as the headquarters of the Archdiocese of Vietnam

The oldest church in Hanoi was built by the Frenchcolonial government in Indochina in the Neo-Gothic styleresembling Notre Dame in Paris. The cathedral was built with baked bricks and its walls were covered by Boi paper. It is 64.5m in length, 20.5m in width with two bell towers 31.5m tall. Looking through the cathedral, from the front doors, at the colorful window glass, to the religious paintings it follows a Western style. The main interior is decorated in a Vietnamesestyle with the two coloursof yellow and red. Outside, in front of the cathedral is the statue of the Mother Mary.

Hanoi Cathedral is located on Nha Chung Street, a five-minute walk from Hoan Kiem Lake.

The surrounding fences with cross-shaped patterns in front of the cathedral.

The statue of the Mother Mary in front of the cathedral.

The stone cross and the clock are the highlights of the Cathedral’s architecture.

A side of Hanoi Cathedral.

The rear of Hanoi Cathedral.

Tourists take a stroll in the surrounding space of the Cathedral.

Hanoi Cathedral is a beautiful place of Hanoi

Contrasting with its old appearance with a layer of old paint imbued with imprints of time, its interior looks splendid and magnificent. The walls inside the church are made of granite. Windows are fitted with tall stained glass and have pointed arches. The ceiling is rib vaulted like those seen in medieval Europe. The nave is weathered and the sanctuary looks shiny and is made of gilt trimmed wood. The cathedral preserves a set of bells and a large clock in the middle of the church’s façade. The great hall consists of 30 rows of chairs.The cathedral conducts two masses every day and seven on Sunday.

The main interior inside the cathedral is decorated according to the traditional folk art.

The altar for the Mother Mary.

The statue of Ane Le Thi Thanh.

The interior of the cathedral.

Foreign tourists attend a mass at the cathedral.

The special thing is that the 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 have fun. Here, one can feast and drink with his or her friends in this open space. Young people have gone to the cathedral because the church view and tranquil street corners will fuel their romantic liaisons. Others regard it as a playground for chatting or a stage for music performances or enjoying “lemon tea” and other street specialties of Hanoi, such as long cheese sticks and grilled fermented pork. The church is not only the holy place for Christian couples to hold their wedding, but also a great venue for non- religious grooms and brides to take nice wedding photographs.
Visiting the capital of Hanoi, one should not miss a chance to see Hanoi Cathedral.

Story: Thao Vy – Photos: Tran Thanh Giang