Photo: St Joseph's by night.

St Joseph's Cathedral

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The beautiful neo-Gothic St Joseph's Cathedral in downtown Hanoi was consecrated in 1886 and remains active today thanks to the city being home to a large community of local Catholics.

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Vietnam is predominantly Buddhist, but that didn't stop the French colonists from attempting to save souls the Catholic way. The French demolished 800-year-old Bao Thien pagoda, which stood on the site and was important to the Vietnamese, in order to build the distinctly European-style church. It was built by French missionary and apostolic vicar of Tonkin Paul-François Puginier, with Paris' Notre Dame in mind. The still very active bell towers reach 31.5 metres high, making this an impressive building.

A popular backdrop for pre-wedding photos. Photo taken in or around St Joseph's Cathedral, Hanoi, Vietnam by Samantha Brown.

A popular backdrop for pre-wedding photos. Photo: Samantha Brown

The church was closed in 1975 upon the reunification of Vietnam, and was not reopened until 1985; mass was only held again in 1990.

Access the cathedral via a side door, as the frontage is blocked off by temporary gating. The interior is majestic, and the church is known for its beautiful, French-produced stained glass—incredibly, the original has survived decades of ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 200 words.)

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