St. Joseph Cathedral

Photo: Arno Kohlem
St. Joseph cathedral  is one of the most popular religious structures in Hanoi. The cathedral design has the heavy impact of Notre Dame of Paris and is regarded as the most beautiful neo-Gothic Roman Catholic church in the capital city. The place is a cardinal venue for  Roman Catholic community of Hanoi to gather and implement religious rituals as well as spiritual activities and also a huge attraction for tourists from all over the world coming to Hanoi. Being constructed by the French colonists when they came to Vietnam in the 19th century, St. Joseph is a prominent symbol of colonical architecture of the country.

In order to build the church, the French demolished the ancient Bao Thien pagoda that had stood there for more than 800 years. The contrast between the two religious buildings was dramatic. St. Joseph Cathedral’s neo-Gothic cross, towers and nave are distinctly European. At 64.5 metres (211 feet ) long and with bell towers reaching 31.5 metres (103 feet) high, it’s an imposing structure.

St. Joseph cathedral can be seen from a distance when you are walking along the bank of Hoan Kiem lake. The area surrounding the cathedral is highly enjoyed  since it is embellished with many green trees, lovely hotels and boutiques. People leave the Old Quarter, heading towards the cathedral neighborhood so as to look for a tranquil atmosphere and refresh their preoccupied souls.

You enter the church through the side door, not the main entrance. Inside, the original stained glass windows and religious murals maintain the traditional, European style of St. Joseph’s exterior. There are also traditional Vietnamese decorations adorning the aisles, walls and altar.

St. Joseph Cathedral is located just west of Lake Hoan Kiem, close to several bus routes and walkable from the Old Quarter. The church welcome the massive without an entrance free. Opening hours are known to fluctuate, and you’ll likely find the church closed at lunchtime. Services take place on every weekday and the pews are often full.

From Hoan Kiem Lake head to Hang Gai Street, keep going until you reach Ly Quoc Su Street on the left-hand side. Walk pass Ly Quoc Su and you will reach Nha Chung – the Cathedral is the venue of these two streets.

The cathedral conducts mass several times during a day. For Sunday evening mass at 6:00 PM, large crowds spill out into the streets. The prayer hymns are broadcast and Catholics who are unable to enter the cathedral congregate in the street and listen to hymns.

   If you want to discover other wonderful places other than Hanoi, here we offers some best tours from Hanoi as references to help you to have great time in Vietnam.

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