St. Joseph's Cathedral Hanoi - The Notre Dame de Paris of Hanoi

Duc - October 25, 2018

St. Joseph's Cathedral Hanoi

You want to see a destination in Hanoi with different architecture rather than Asian architecture?

You are a Christian and want to find a cathedral to both pray and explore the Catholicism in an Asian country?

Saint Joseph's Cathedral would be the perfect place for you to visit when you come to Hanoi.

A.1. Basic Information

No.40 Nha Chung street, Hoan Kiem district, Hanoi.

  • Opening hours:
    • For outside visit: all time
    • For inside visit: visitors can only enter St. Joseph's Cathedral in Hanoi in the opening time of ceremonial practice as the following schedule:
      • Weekday; 5.30am and 6.15 pm.
      • Saturday: 6pm.
      • Sunday: 5am, 7am, 9am, 11am, 4pm, 6pm, and 8pm.
      • Special ceremony is on March 19th every year.
  • Entrance fees: Free.

A.2. Local tips.

  • Recommended time
    • For inside visit: Anywhere in the inside opening time.
    • For outside visit: 6am- 8am: the weather is cooler and visitors can meet Hanoians with their morning activities.

5pm – 10pm: the perfect time to hang out here with lots of local youngsters.

  • On Christmas Eve: St. Joseph's Cathedral is decorated beautifully with a lot of activities that visitors can join and take photos in this special occasion.
  • Dresscode: Visitors should wear formal clothes to enter the cathedral. If outside visiting is the only purpose, casual clothes are recommended for suitable.
  • Tips for newcomers:
    • Cameras and smartphone are necessary if you want to take some pictures with beautiful backgrounds.
    • If you visiting in summer, remember to use sun screen and anti-bugs spray.
    • Hat is the must-thing to bring along. You can also bring a small umbrella in case raining.
    • There are lots of cafeteria and various Western style restaurants around the site so you do not need to bring your own food.
    • For inside visit: No food and drink are allowed.
    • Do not make noise while visiting inside.

Introduction to St. Joseph's Cathedral

C.1. History

  • At first, the site was belonged to Bao Thien pagoda serving as an “administrative center” of Tonkin during the pre-French colonial era.
  • For the purpose of building the church, the pagoda was demolished and the cathedral was constructed in 1882.
  • Completed in December 24th, 1886, the church became a place for Christians living in Hanoi

The Cathedral in the past

  • The cathedral was named “Saint Joseph” because in 1678, pope innocent XI sanctified St. Joseph (foster father of Jesus) as patron saint of Vietnam and neighboring countries.
  • As the oldest church in Hanoi, it was one of the first structure built by the French colonial government in Indochina.

The unique structure of St. Joseph's Cathedral

  • After North Vietnam was taken control by the Viet Minh following the Geneva Accords in 1954, St. Joseph’s Cathedral was closed down until Christmas Eve of 1990, when Mass was permitted to be celebrated there again.

C.2. Architecture

The cathedral have an architecture with domes and colorful window glasses following the Neo - Gothic style and design of Paris Cathedral.

C.2.1. Exterior

  • With 64.5 meters length and 20.5 meters width, the architecture is described as resembling the Notre Dame de Paris.

The twin towers of the Cathedral

  • The cathedral was built with stone slabs and in brick with concrete facing
  • There are twin square towers with the height of 31.5m and each tower fitted with five bells.
  • The church has the exterior walls made of granite stone slabs which became severely worn down due to heavy destruction.

St Joseph's Cathedral Exterior.

  • In front of the cathedral, there is the statue of Mother Maria.

The statue of Mother Maria

C.2.2. Interior

  • The windows, which are produced in France them imported to Vietnam, are made with tall stained glass and have pointed arches.

The vaulted ceiling is looked like those in medieval Europe.

  • The nave is weathered and the sanctuary looks shine and is made of gilt trimmed wood.

The rib vaulted ceiling inside the church

  • The statue of Virgin Mary kept in palanquin, to the left of the nave

C.3. Meaning to local and tourists

  • St. Joseph's Cathedral in Hanoi is always the place for Christians living in this city come and pray occasionally.

With the wide beautiful site, the outside cathedral attracts a lot of attention and became a place for local and tourists to gather every evening.