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Sunday, 24/12/2023 07:54

New cathedrals amaze with stunning architecture

Since Catholicism was first introduced to Việt Nam in the early 16th century, many churches with unique architecture have been built throughout the country.

According to the Việt Nam Catholic Church, there are over 5,400 churches across the country, and many magnificent new ones are being built or have been completed, attracting not only Christians but also tourists near and far.

Prominent among the newly built cathedrals are Lãng Vân in the northern province of Ninh Bình, Tam Tòa in the central province of Quảng Bình and Song Vĩnh in the southern province of Bà Rịa Vũng Tàu.

Lãng Vân: the biggest cathedral 

RECORD BREAKER: The Lãng Vân Cathedral viewed from above. It is expected to be recognised as the largest cathedral in Việt Nam once finished. Photo

Lãng Vân Cathedral, located in Gia Lập Commune, Gia Viễn District, Ninh Bình, within the Phát Diệm Diocese, has been under construction since 2014 and is almost complete.

Nguyễn Hữu Rong, a local Catholic, told the Dân Việt newspaper: "Lãng Vân has around 3,800 Catholics. The cathedral, under construction since 2014 will be 40m wide, 94m long and have a 1,000sq.m basement. Its most notable structure is the  bell tower, including the cross, measuring 110 metres high."

"The main bell tower, with piles of up to 1.6-metre in diameter, penetrates multiple layers of soil down to the bedrock, reaching a depth of 40-50 metres. There are two additional towers with a height of up to 60 metres," he said.

Once completed, the cathedral will accommodate about 5,000 people at a time.

Beneath the main sanctuary, there is 15m-deep basement with a capacity of 700-800 guests, providing convenience for organising large social events.

CEREMONIAL: The cathedral can accommodate about 5,000 people at a time. Photo courtesy of Lãng Vân Parish

Established in 1885 under the title of Đức Mẹ Vô Nhiễm (Immaculate Conception), Lãng Vân is a devoutly Catholic parish.

The original Lãng Vân Cathedral, an ancient architectural structure, was built around 1933. It was designed with a seating capacity of 1,000, but couldn't accommodate all the parishioners, especially during extreme weather conditions.

The new Lãng Vân Cathedral has therefore been constructed to meet the needs of worship and conduct the rituals of the Holy Mass of local Catholics.

Tam Tòa: cathedral of stone

NEW BUILD: Tam Tòa Cathedral impresses visitors with its stone structures. Photo

Located in Nam Lý Ward of Đồng Hới City in the central province of Quảng Bình, the recently inaugurated Tam Tòa Cathedral not only serves as a place of worship for Catholics but also attracts many tourists due to its unique architecture, predominantly constructed with stone.

The building began in April 2016 and finished after seven years, having a spacious campus covering an area of 2,000 square metres.

One distinctive feature of Tam Tòa Cathedral, which sets it apart from many other churches in Quảng Bình, is its primary construction materials consisting of 1,000 blocks of granite and marble stone.

The interior of the cathedral is designed in the Romanesque architectural style, which was prominent in medieval Europe. It has three spires, and inside, there are three bells imported from France, with a total weight of about one tonne.

Currently, in addition to regular religious activities and worship services, the church also opens its doors to visitors who wish to explore and appreciate its beauty. 

About 3km away from the new church, there are relics of the first Tam Tòa Church located in Đồng Hải Ward by the picturesque Nhật Lệ River. It was built in 1886 by priest Clause Bonin but was destroyed by US bombardment in 1964. Only the bell tower stands as the last remaining relic of war, and now it has become a tourist attraction in Đồng Hới City.

RUINS: The old Tam Tòa Church's bell tower stands as the last remaining relic of war, and now it has become a tourist attraction in Đồng Hới City. Photo

Song Vĩnh Cathedral 

Officially opening on December 12, 2022 after 11 years, one month, and one day of construction, Song Vĩnh Cathedral is a remarkable architectural landmark in the southern province of Bà Rịa Vũng Tàu.

SCENE STEALER: Tourists visit Song Vĩnh Cathedral at night before this year's Christmas. Photo courtesy of Công Giáo Việt Nam Facebook

The building, located on National Highway 51, attracts attention with its grand and elegant appearance. The majestic cathedral embodies the Gothic architectural style.

The cathedral is built on a foundation of 82 metres long and 35 metres wide. The striking feature of its Gothic architectural style is the presence of two tall towers on either side, along with the classic pointed arches. 

The construction has multiple large windows compared to traditional Gothic architecture, allowing ample natural light to flood the interior of the building. The cathedral's structural system, with load-bearing frames, ribbed vaults, and high columns, creates a spacious and airy interior.

Inside Song Vĩnh Cathedral. Photo courtesy of Communications Department of Bà Rịa Diocese

In addition, the use of carefully crafted stone bricks throughout the construction, including the window frames and statues, enhances the durability and resilience of the building against the harsh environmental elements such as wind and salty moisture in the coastal region.

"Everyone hopes the cathedral will endure for generations to come, hence the attention to detail and craftsmanship in every aspect of the building," the local parish priest said.

At night, it becomes enchanting and ethereal, illuminated by characteristic golden and white lights emanating from its large and small windows.

During the Christmas season, the cathedral is adorned even more splendidly, shining brightly and standing out from afar, attracting believers and non-Christian visitors alike. VNS


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