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Phat Diem Cathedral in Ninh Binh

Phat Diem Cathedral is located in Kim Son District of Ninh Binh Province. It has oriental architecture. This cathedral is far about 120 kilometers from Hanoi to the south, built in 1875s to 1898s. ‘Phat Diem’ means generating beauty, named by Nguyen Cong Tru. The church was built during the 24 consecutive years.
Location & History
Phat Diem CathedralPhat Diem Stone Cathedral is one of the most famous and beautiful churches in Vietnam with special architecture: an elegant combination between Western church architecture style and Vietnamese religious buildings.
It took 24 years to build this church from 1875 to 1898. And as its name suggests, it was completely built of stone and wood that are readily available in the mountain area of Ninh Binh. The preparation phase, mainly extracting materials from limestone mountains, took the local as many as 10 years to finish.
With the technical level and traffic conditions of the late 19th century, the method to transfer thousands of tons of stone, hundreds of ironwood trees to Phat Diem in order to build the cathedral is very difficult. Kim Son is the new land, before, it is very muddy. So as to solve subsidence of this area before building, people moved a small mountain to Phat Diem. Visitors can see So Mountain; it is a part of the mountain which had been moved to Phat Diem.
This is an Eastern architectural ensemble including Lake, Phuong Dinh, cathedral with 4 churches on the sides, 3 man-made grottos, stone churches.
Phuong Dinh is the first area in the architectural planning of Phat Diem. This architecture has 25 meters height, 17 meters width, 24 meters length consisting of three floors built of boulder. With the craft, local workers assembled thousands of boulders along with a high degree of accuracy. In the middle of Phuong Dinh, it has a monolithic table; outside and inside, there has the bas-relief carved images of Jesu with elegant lines. The second floor of Phuong Dinh, it hangs a big drum. The third floor hung a bell with 1.4 meters height, 1.1 meters in diameter and 2000 kilograms weight. This big bell was casted in 1890. Phuong Dinh’s roof has five arches; the highest arch is in the middle of the third floor. Roof of Phuong Dinh in Phat Diem cathedral is not soaring as the other churches; it has ancient roof and same the roof of temple, pagoda.
facade-Phat Diem CathedralCathedral: Cathedral is the main church built in 1891. It has 5 entrances and carved arch. The cathedral has 74 meters length, 21 meters width, 15 meters height and 4 roofs. Inside the church there includes 6 monolithic ironwood columns; two rows of columns with 11 meters height, 2.35 meters in circumference, 10 tons weight in each column. Besides, it has a large altar was made by a monolithic boulder with 3 meters length, 0.9 meters width, 0.8 meters height and 20 tons weight. In the front of the boulder, it was carved with flowers of the four seasons. Two sides of the cathedral are 4 churches with the unique architectural.
Stone Church: stone church is called the church dedicated to Our Lady. Called the stone church because everything in the church is made of stone: walls, columns… Inside, there have a number of bas-reliefs.
Artificial grotto: in the northern of Phat Diem cathedral has 3 grottos created by rocks with different sizes, Lo Thien Grotto is the most beautiful.
Phat Diem Cathedral is a unique architecture in Vietnam. The magnificent structure but harmony with the natural scenery with the style of oriental architecture, the cathedral will bring you exciting time and unforgettable impression. 
What to see and do
Phat Diem Cathedral
Phat Diem Cathedral is a complex comprising of a lake, a cathedral, a stone church, Phuong Dinh (bell house) and three artificial grottoes. At first sight, visitors are easily attracted to square lake on the main road to the cathedral. In the middle of the lake, there is a small island with statue of Jesus Christ. Phuong Dinh easily becomes the next eye-catching monument, with stone carvings on both sides of the walls. It is 25 m high, 17m wide and 24m long with three stories. The first floor is covered by large green flagstones.
The middle and upper floors house a large drum and a big bell respectively. As visitors leave Phuong Dinh, they will see a great cathedral which was built in 1891with the official name “Nha tho Duc Me Man Coi”. The cathedral is 74 meters long, 21 meters wide and 15 meters high with four roofs. It was built of 6 rows of monolithic ironwood. Within the cathedral are four small churches of different styles. Next to the grand cathedral is a stone church with initial name “Nha Tho Trai tim Vo Nhiem Nguyen Toi Duc Me” but now people usually refer to it as” Stone church” because from its walls, pillars, ground, bars to tie beams are made of stone. The inside of the church has many sophisticatedly carved reliefs, with chrysanthemum, bamboo, fir tree and apricot tree that symbolize four seasons in a year. Around Phat Diem Cathedral, there are a lot of beautiful stone caves and artificial mountains.
With artistic design and skillful technique, Phat Diem Cathedral is a tourist attration in Ninh Binh, along with Bai Dinh Pagoda, Tam Coc Bich Dong...
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Item Reviewed: Phat Diem Cathedral in Ninh Binh Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Trang Phạm Thị Huyền
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