At first, the site 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 on 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 a 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.
The cathedral has an architecture with domes and colorful window glasses following the Neo-Gothic style and design of Paris Cathedral.
With 64.5 meters length and 20.5 meters width, the architecture is described as resembling the Notre Dame de Paris.
The cathedral was built with stone slabs and in brick with concrete facing
There are twin square towers with a height of 31.5 meters 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
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.
Glass stained pictures inside St. Joseph's Cathedral Hanoi - The Notre Dame de Paris of Hanoi
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 the palanquin, to the left of the nave
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. Moreover, around the cathedral is commonplace for locals gathering their friends and families every weekend
With the wide beautiful site, the outside cathedral attracts a lot of attention and became a place for locals and tourists to gather every evening. If you have any question, feel free to contact AZ Local Trip!
Vietnam is a beautiful country with more than 2000-year history and a wonderful place with a variety of tasteful dishes, spectacular sceneries as well as friendly people. However, most of Vietnamese tourist services don’t make use of such potentials!