Stone Cathedral of Phat Diem

Phat Diem Cathedral is one of Vietnam's most well-known and beautiful churches, with unique architecture that combines Western architectural styles with Vietnamese religious structures. A cathedral, a stone church, a lake, Phuong Dinh (bell house), and three man-made caves make up the Phat Diem Cathedral complex.

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With significant traditional Vietnamese design characteristics and a long history, Phat Diem Cathedral is Vietnam's most outstanding Catholic cathedral. Phat Diem was constructed over a 24-year period, from the 1875s to the 1898s. Phat Diem Cathedral was designed by Father Sau, a Vietnamese priest. Father Sau enlisted the help of the locals to construct the cathedral, five side chapels, three artificial grottoes, a man-made lake, and a bell tower.

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A little island with a statue of Jesus Christ sits in the middle of the lake. With stone carvings on both sides of the walls, Phuong Dinh quickly becomes the next eye-catching landmark. It has three stories, each measuring 25 meters high, 17 meters wide, and 24 meters long. Large green flagstones adorn the first floor. A monolithic table stands in the center of Phuong Dinh, featuring bas-relief carved depictions of Jesus with graceful lines on both the outside and inside.

A large drum hangs from the second level of Phuong Dinh. A 1.4-meter-tall, 1.1-meter-diameter bell weighing 2000 kilos hung from the third floor. In the year 1890, this large bell was cast. The roof of Phuong Dinh contains five arches, with the highest arch located in the third floor's middle. The roof of Phuong Dinh in Phat Diem cathedral is not as high as the roofs of other churches; it has an antique roof similar to that of a temple or pagoda.

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With 4 roofs, the cathedral is 74 meters long, 21 meters broad, and 15 meters high. 6 monolithic ironwood columns stand inside the church in two rows, each 11 meters high, 2.35 meters in circumference, and weighing ten tons apiece. It also features a massive altar made of a monolithic boulder that is 3 meters in length, 0.9 meters in breadth, 0.8 meters in height, and weighs 20 tons. Flowers representing the four seasons were carved into the front of the boulder. There are 4 churches on two sides of the cathedral, each with its own architectural style.

A church called "Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary" is located next to the main cathedral. However, because the walls, pillars, ground, bars, and beams are all made of stone, it is commonly referred to as the "stone church."

Inside the chapel, there are several intricately carved reliefs depicting chrysanthemums, fir trees, apricot trees, and bamboo which represent the four seasons of the year. There are several stunning stone caverns and artificial mountains around Phat Diem Cathedral.

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