St. Joseph’s Cathedral Hanoi – Notre Dame de Paris in Hanoi

Hanoi’s neo-Gothic St Joseph Cathedral was inaugurated in 1886, and boasts a soaring facade that faces a little plaza. Its most noteworthy features are its twin bell towers, elaborate altar and fine stained-glass windows. Entrance via the main gate is only permitted during Mass: times are listed on a sign on the gates to the left of the cathedral.

History & Architecture

In 1882, after the French army conquered Hanoi, the cathedral was constructed and completed in 1886. The cathedral and Nha Chung area were built on the land formerly belonging to Bao Thien pagoda, which was built under Ly dynasty.

The architecture with domes of the cathedral follows the Gothic style and design of Paris Cathedral. It is 64.5m in length, 20.5m in width with two bell towers of 31.5m-height. Though the appearance of the cathedral, from the doors, the colorful window glass, to the religious paintings for decoration follows Western style, the main interior part is decorated in Vietnamese way with two typical colors yellow and red. Outside, in front of the cathedral is the statue of Mother Maria.

One of the architectural features of the cathedral in Hanoi is designed in the Gothic style and simulated from the church of Notre Dame de Paris. Thus, the church has the interference of the East with the West, between Buddhism and Christianity.

St Joseph Cathedral Hanoi has a width of 20.5 m, length 64.5 m and two bell towers 31.5 m high divided into 3 parts. In it, the two towering bell tower soaring up and in the middle is the lower block triangular with stone cross marks the point.

The center of the square in front of the church is the St Mary of the Metal Hall, surrounded by flower baskets, palanquins and a rocky cave behind it to enhance the landscape.

When viewed from outside, the cathedral of Hanoi brings majestic and ancient beauty with old mossy lime on the wall that has soaked the color of time. However, when you step inside, visitors will be able to observe the magnificent and modern architecture.

Exterior Design

The church brings an ancient and peaceful beauty inside bustling Hanoi. It has a length of 64,5 meters, a width of 20,5 meters. The facade consists of two square bell towers with a height of 31,5 meters and a big clock, which looks like in the Notre Dame de Paris. On the top is a stone cross. In front of the church, there is a statue of Mother Maria made of copper and around are decorated with iron fences, flowers, and trees. The exterior walls of the church were made of brick and plastered. After a long time, the fierce fights and the time left historical marks on them.

Interior Design

St Joseph’s Cathedral is a typical structure of Gothic architecture in Vietnam, which became very popular in Europe from the middle of the eighteenth century. St Joseph’s Cathedral was designed with colorful tall glass windows and high domes, around are pictures about Jesus Christ.

In the main court, a 2 meter-in-height St Joseph’s terracotta statue is put on the center. Below are long brown wooden rows of seats lining up to the door for the Catholics in ceremonies.

At Christmas, the church is decorated sparklingly and becomes a place attracting many not-being Catholics and young people in Hanoi. There are also a lot of entertainment activities held at the church and they are suitable for family, friends or dating couples to take part in.

Lemon Iced Tea near the Cathedral – Tra chanh Nha Tho – A specialty of the Cathedral

It is a pity to miss lemon tea when you have an opportunity to visit St Joseph’s Cathedral. Just a cup of tea, sitting on the pavement, under the cool green tree canopy, you can gather and chat with friends, enjoy some street foods and see the beauty of the church.

Address: 40 Nhà Chung, Hàng Trống, Hoàn Kiếm, Hà Nội

Opened: December 1886

Hours: 8AM – 5PM

Phone: 024 3828 5967

Architectural Style: Gothic Revival architecture

Distance from La Sinfonía del Rey Hotel: 850m – 10 min walk – 5 min drive


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