St. Joseph's Cathedral - Hanoi's Most Popular Areas
St. Joseph's Cathedral (Vietnamese: Nhà thờ Lớn Hà Nội, Nhà thờ Chính tòa Thánh Giuse; French: Cathédrale Saint-Joseph) is a church on Nha Chung (Church) Street in the Hoàn Kiếm District of Hanoi, Vietnam. It is a late 19th-century Gothic Revival (Neo-Gothic style) church that serves as the cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hanoi to nearly 4 million Catholics in the country. The cathedral was named after Joseph, the patron saint of Vietnam and Indochina.
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
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
The construction of Hanoi began in 1886, with the architectural style described as resembling the famous cathedral Notre Dame de Paris.
As an oldest church in Hanoi, St. Joseph was one of the first structure built by the French colonist during the expansion in its colonial empire Indochina.
St. Joseph was built on the site of Bao Thien Pagoda – a well-respected temple as the center of Buddhist practice in Lý-Trần dynasty demolished for the construction of the Church.
After the retreat of French from North Vietnam in 1954, St. Joseph Cathedral is under the control the Vietnamese Nationalists and suffered decade of persecution, when priests were arrested, church property were seized and expropriated.
It was not until the Christmas Eve of 1990 that the mass was allowed to be celebrated there.
The Architecture of St. Jospeh Cathedral
- 64,5 meters in length, 20,5 meters in width, 31,5 meters in height.
For Outside visit: all time
What to See and Do in St Joseph’s Cathedral
Participating in a Ceremony
If you are not Catholics and curious to know how a Catholics ceremony happens? Come to St Joseph’s Cathedral on the weekend and you will have an exciting experience. All ceremonies in this church on the weekend are big and formal, the priest will read and explain the bible, organize baptisms, ablutions for Catholics.
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.
St Joseph’s Cathedral with its European beauty becomes a wonderful place of taking photos in Hanoi. Nowadays, there are couples choosing the church to take wedding photos and students choosing it to take yearbook photos.
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.
Tips on Visiting St. Joseph’s Cathedral
- A camera or smartphone is necessary if you want to take some pictures there.
Where to go next?
As a benefit of location in the center of Hanoi, visitors are provided of a variety of choice for the next destinations. Visitors can consider these following:
2. Hoa Lo Prison: also known as Maison Centrale, a representative testimony of the period of Vietnamese revolutionary struggle against the French colonists