Christmas tour of Hanoi’s churches

Christmas tour of Hanoi’s churches  - ảnh 1St Joseph Cathedral at night during Christmas time  

From Hoan Kiem Lake in downtown Hanoi, visitors can easily find St Joseph’s Cathedral in Nha Chung street. The Church was designed in gothic style featuring two large towers, similar to the architecture of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. It is 65 meters long and 21 meters wide with a bell tower on either side, each nearly 32 meters in height. In front of the church stands a metal statue of mother Maria.

Inside, the church’s decorations look as fresh and vivid as ever. Sunlights passing through the colored glass creates a magnificent light inside the church. The church floor, made of terracotta tiles, contributes to the solemn atmosphere.

The cathedral is divided into 3 major spaces: narthex or entry vestibule, the nave where parishioners sit, and the chancel, where the altars stand.

“The cathedral’s architecture has stood the test of time. Minor renovation has been done recently - the altars was repaired and redecorated. This is the biggest church in Hanoi and, of course, is decorated beautifully every Christmas and New Year. The Christmas tree in front of the church has been lit up already, delighting the many visitors who come to Hanoi at this time of the year.”, said Nguyễn Hà of Hanoi’s Hai Ba Trung district, a frequent visitor to the church.

Christmas tour of Hanoi’s churches  - ảnh 2Cua Bac Church in festive time 

Cua Bac church is located at No. 56 Phan Dinh Phung street in Hanoi. The church was built between 1925 and 1930 by a French priest and architect, who combined Asian and European styles. It does not follow the rules of symmetry. A high bell tower on the right balances the central dome. The roof tile is in the traditional style of Vietnam.  The harmony of the church with the surrounding green area is another element of Vietnamese style.  The Cua Bac Cathedral is not an architectural work with many unique features.

“The church has a very spacious campus and beautiful interior design and arrangement. The structure is decorated differently every Christmas with lights, flowers, and lanterns arranged throughout the church.”, said Hoài Nam of Hanoi’s Ha Dong district, a visitor to Cua Bac Church on a winter morning. 

Ham Long is another Roman Catholic church in Hanoi’s central Hoan Kiem district. Designed by a Vietnamese architect, the 17m high church was completed in December, 1934.

“It looks very ancient from the outside with its walls covered in green moss. Once you step inside, you feel spaciousness. The rows of benches date back to the French colonial period. I really enjoy the atmosphere of this church.”, said Hoai Nam.

Hanoi’s churches attracted tens of thousands of visitors each Christmas. Mai Anh joined her friends on a tour of Thai Ha church in Hanoi’s Dong Da district. She told VOV reporter:  “Thai Ha church is quite big and stone caves are arranged as part of the church’s decorations when Christmas comes. The caves are pretty big and carefully decorated with Christmas trees. Churches are places people come to pray and find peace of mind and I myself feel very relaxed and peaceful whenever I visit this church.”      

Most churches in Hanoi have completed their preparations for Christmas and New Year with hope for another year of peace and happiness.