According to Ancient books, a long time ago, the land area built St. Joseph’s Cathedral was the place where Bao Thien used to be located. The pagoda was built in Ly Dynasty (1009-1225). It is known that Bao Thien Tu was the famous national Pagoda of Dai Viet (the name of Vietnam before) Capital during Ly – Tran – Le – Nguyen dynasties. At the end of the 18th century, Bao Thien was destroyed and the pagoda foundation became the marketplace of Dai Viet people. After that, government gave Catholic Church to build the Church. At the beginning, the cathedral was built from wood to serve the belief activity of catholics. In 1884, the cathedral was begun building more spaciously with mud bricks. In spite of having many difficulties in process, the cathedral still finished on Christmas occasion of 1888.
Although it is known that the official name of Cathedral is St. Joseph’s Cathedral, local people and tourists are still used to calling Big Church. Perhaps, because of the size and unique architecture style of the cathedral make people think of that name. Through many ups and downs of history, Big Church is supposed to be yhe witness watching the changes of Hanoi during last 3 centuries. Even though modern structures come up more and more, Big Church is still an architecture making special impression in the hearts of Hanoi people and tourists everywhere.
Hanoi Big Church was built according to Europe Middle Age Gothic architecture style. The cathedral has the length of 65m and the width of 21m. The height of the pair of bell towers is 32m. On the top of the cathedral has a cross made from stone. Beneath the cross there is a clock making a highlight for the cathedral. Looking at the outside, the cathedral looks very ancient with lime layer having changed color, the tile roof full of mosses. Going to the big door of the cathedral, tourists will be surprised to see magnificent architecture style not changing along to time. Inside the cathedral, the first attraction may be the Saint Place. The Saint Place is decorated according to traditional folk art, simple but eye-catching. The middle of the Saint Palace has the statue of Saint Joseph holding Jesus Christ. The two sides have Mother Altar and many other statues.
In front of the Saint Palace, there are long benches for catholics carrying out ceremony. The ceiling, windows and doors has leaf shape (the particularity of Gothic architecture style). With spacious space, Big Church can contain thousands of people. On important celebration occasions such as Christmas, the cathedral attracts so many catholics and tourists. Especially the cathedral has a value western bell set consisting of 1 big bell and 4 small bell. Outside the cathedral has a small square where the Mother Statue made from metal is put. Below, there is an incense stand so that people come to pray. Surrounding is bonsai trees and fence having cross metal bars.
Generally, St. Joseph’s Cathedral worships St. Joseph, Mother Maria, Jesus Christ and some other Saints. The cathedral is of Gothic architecture style. The surface of the cathedral looks ancient, but inside it is actually magnificent. The cathedral is Catholic and tourist attraction everywhere.
Address: 40 Nha Chung, Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi.
Opentime: Sunday: Morning 7:00 – 11:30, Afternoon 15:00 – 21:00
Monday – Saturday: Morning 7:00 – 11:30, Afternoon 14:00 – 20:00