St Joseph's Cathedral

Weather :

Timings : 6:00 AM - 12:00 PM
2:00PM - 8:00 PM

Time Required : 1-2 hrs

Entry Fee : No Entry Fee

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St Joseph's Cathedral, Hanoi Overview

St. Joseph's Cathedral lies in the Old Quarter of Hanoi and was built in 1886 by the French Colonialists. It is a stunning 19th-century neo-gothic church. Close to Hoan Kiem Lake, the church features twin bell towers and stained windows.

The St. Joseph's Cathedral has beautiful architecture, glass windows and an elaborate altar are among its noteworthy features. It is locally known as 'The Big Church' and is the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hanoi for more than 4 million Catholics in Vietnam.

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Sunday Mass Timings

One can visit St Joseph's Cathedral and check out the exteriors at any time. However, keep in mind that for inside visits, visitors are only allowed to enter the cathedral during the ceremonial practice and mass timings, which is as follows:

Mass Timings:
Monday to Friday: 5:30 AM, 6.15 AM
Saturday: 6:00 PM
Sunday: 5:00 AM, 7:00 AM, 9:00 AM, 11:00 AM, 4:00 PM, 6:00 PM, 8:00 PM

Special Ceremony: 19th March every year
Thursday to Saturday: 5:30 PM
Sunday: 8:30 AM, 3:30 PM, 5:30 PM

The cathedral remains closed during lunch hours.

History of the Cathedral

The construction of St Joseph's Cathedral began in 1886, adhering to the striking resemblance of the architectural style of the famous cathedral - Notre Dame de Paris. Apart from being the oldest church in Hanoi, it is also one of the first structures to be built by the French colonists during the expansion of their colonial empire into Indochina. The cathedral stands on the former ground of the Bao Thien Pagoda - a well-respected temple and a centre of Buddhist practice in the Ly-Tran dynasty. After taking over Vietnam, the French demolished the temple for the construction of the church.

The French retreated from North Vietnam in 1954 and the St Joseph's Cathedral came under the control of the Vietnamese Nationalists. It is during that phase when the cathedral suffered through decades of neglect. The church's property was seized and expropriated, and the priests were arrested. It was not until the Christmas Eve of 1990 that mass was allowed to be conducted in the Saint Joseph's Cathedral.

Architecture of the Cathedral

When viewed from the outside, St Joseph's Cathedral is characterized by its ancient and unique architectural features and accumulation of moss on its walls. Stepping inside the church through the massive entrance gate, one can witness the modern architectural works that have not been affected by the passage of time, at all. The cathedral is a simulated architecture of the Notre-Dame de Paris in France and is considered as one of the most marvellous works of Catholic architecture. The cathedral can also be considered as an intercultural product between Buddhism and Catholicism, and it reflects the connection between the East and the West.

How To Reach St Joseph's Cathedral

When coming from Hoan Kiem Lake towards Old Quarter, head towards Hang Gai Street and keep going until you reach Ly Quoc Su Street, which falls on the left-hand side. After walking past Ly Quoc Su, you will reach Nha Chung, from where you can reach St Joseph's Cathedral. The closest bus stop to St Joseph's Cathedral is Nga 3 Le Thai To at Hang Trong. The church is especially popular among Catholics who throng here for the Sunday Mass.

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