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Why Phat Diem Cathedral is special ?
Cathedral: Cathedral is the main church built in 1891. It has 5 entrances and carved arch. The cathedral has 74 meters length, 21 meters width, 15 meters height and 4 roofs. Inside the church there includes 6 monolithic ironwood columns; two rows of columns with 11 meters height, 2.35 meters in circumference, 10 tons weight in each column. Besides, it has a large altar was made by a monolithic boulder with 3 meters length, 0.9 meters width, 0.8 meters height and 20 tons weight. In the front of the boulder, it was carved with flowers of the four seasons. Two sides of the cathedral are 4 churches with the unique architectural.
What to explore at Phat Diem Cathedral?
Phat Diem Cathedral is a complex comprising of a lake, a cathedral, a stone church, Phuong Dinh (bell house) and three artificial grottoes. At first sight, visitors are easily attracted to square lake on the main road to the cathedral. In the middle of the lake, there is a small island with statue of Jesus Christ. Phuong Dinh easily becomes the next eye-catching monument, with stone carvings on both sides of the walls. It is 25 m high, 17m wide and 24m long with three stories. The first floor is covered by large green flagstones.
The middle and upper floors house a large drum and a big bell respectively. As visitors leave Phuong Dinh, they will see a great cathedral which was built in 1891with the official name “Nha tho Duc Me Man Coi”. The cathedral is 74 meters long, 21 meters wide and 15 meters high with four roofs. It was built of 6 rows of monolithic ironwood. Within the cathedral are four small churches of different styles. Next to the grand cathedral is a stone church with initial name “Nha Tho Trai tim Vo Nhiem Nguyen Toi Duc Me” but now people usually refer to it as” Stone church” because from its walls, pillars, ground, bars to tie beams are made of stone. The inside of the church has many sophisticatedly carved reliefs, with chrysanthemum, bamboo, fir tree and apricot tree that symbolize four seasons in a year. Around Phat Diem Cathedral, there are a lot of beautiful stone caves and artificial mountains.
Ninh Binh, Viet Nam
This isn't your average Catholic Cathedral. Once you arrive you will be amazed how Father Six constructed it fuzing both eastern and western beliefs into one. The chapel to the left of the cathedral shows a clear example of this with a Ying Yang symbol covered by the heart of christ. It's worth getting a tour guide to show you more fascinating details of this cathedral. If you walk through the gates, on the right hand side theres a small reception. Inside you'll find tour guide who can speak English, Italian or french. We were very happy with our tour and couldn't believe it was completely free,though we did give a donation at the end.
I love this place. Have been there 4 or 5 times already, and I find it absolutely incredible. If you like architecture, dont miss it: this mix of Asian and European style is unique in the world. The pillars only, made on ironwood, deserve a visit. And the trip from Ninh Binh reveals a beautiful landscape along a canal.