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Phat Diem stone cathedral

Phat Diem Stone Cathedral is an impressive structure with four roofs standing on six sets of pillars made of iron and wood. It was built sometime between 1875 and 1899. It is surrounded by ponds, lakes, manmade caves and churches.

Phat Diem Stone Cathedral

Phuong Dinh Church is an imposing stone building located in the Phat Diem complex. You can see beautiful stone sculptures on the walls of the church. There is a large bell in the bell tower cast in 1890 that weighs about two tons.

There are four smaller churches around the Phuong Dinh Church. Three stone caves can be seen in the north, the most beautiful being Lo Duc Grotto. The massive structure of Phat Diem Stone Cathedral is surrounded by paddy fields and several small stone churches. All these small churches look like typical churches of that era built by the Europeans. The Phat Diem Stone Cathedral was designed and built by Father Sau, a Vietnamese priest and includes five side chapels, an artificial lake, a bell tower, and three artificial grottoes. Grahan Greene has described the cathedral as a massive structure with huge pillars made out of a single tree trunk. The cathedral is featured with exclusive scarlet lacquer word at the altar, a multi-tiered curling roof with 48 wooden columns. The largest column weighs seven tons. Phat Diem is far removed from the usual European cathedral. The walls are sculptured with angels overlooking carved dragons. The two-ton bell in the bell tower has a gigantic brass gong.

The bombings in 1972 by US air force during Vietnam War razed two side chapels to the ground but the Phat Diem Stone Cathedral miraculously escaped unscathed although it did lean by about twenty degrees. Despite the war, restoration started instantly. The only trace of the bombing today is that some stone carvings were destroyed. Every year a midnight mass is held on Christmas in the cathedral grounds accompanied by a brass band and attended by thousands of people.

For those who would love to learn more architecture, please read an article below

Phat Diem Cathedral – A masterpiece of art

You can combine a day trip with other tourist attractions in Ninh Binh area such as Hoa Lu ancient capital, Tam Coc, Trang An eco-tourism site, Bai Dinh Buddhist temple

Hynam Travel offer days trip to Ninh Binh and tours to Phat Diem Cathedral