Phat Diem Cathedral is not just an extraordinary spiritual destination in Ninh Binh Province, Vietnam, but also an architectural marvel that never fails to attract countless visitors each year. If you plan on exploring Ninh Binh, make sure to include this cathedral in your itinerary.
1. Where is Phat Diem Cathedral? How to get there?
- Address: Phat Diem town, Kim Son district, Ninh Binh
Phat Diem Cathedral, also known as Phat Diem Stone Church, sprawls across a vast 22-hectare complex. Constructed between 1875 and 1899, it comprises a multitude of Catholic structures and sanctuaries, including ponds, lakes, churches, and artificial caves.
To reach Phat Diem Cathedral:
Motorbike/ Car: Once you arrive in Ninh Binh, head towards National Road 10. After covering a distance of 28 kilometers, you’ll reach Phat Diem town. Keep going for another 200 meters after crossing the ancient Ngoi Bridge, then turn right. Continue for 250 meters, and you’ll arrive at Phat Diem Cathedral.
Taxi: If you’re traveling with friends or family, booking a taxi through a mobile application or contacting a taxi company is an ideal option to reach Phat Diem Cathedral.
Bus: Catch a bus from My Dinh Bus Station or Giap Bat Bus Station in Hanoi to Ninh Binh City. The bus fare ranges from VND 70,000 to VND 100,000. After arriving in Ninh Binh, you can take a taxi to reach the cathedral.
2. History of Phat Diem Stone Cathedral
Phat Diem Cathedral boasts a rich historical background. In 1862, Priest Tran Luc surveyed the land of Ninh Binh and chose this very spot to build the cathedral. Construction began in 1875 and was officially completed in 1898.
The construction of Phat Diem Stone Cathedral required immense labor, with workers transporting thousands of tons of stone and hundreds of ironwood pillars. Thanks to their dedication, Ninh Binh is now home to a masterpiece that leaves visitors in awe.
3. Explore the unique architecture of Phat Diem Cathedral Ninh Binh
3.1. The sublime combination of Eastern and Western architecture
Unlike other cathedrals in Vietnam, Phat Diem Cathedral stands out with its fusion of Eastern and Western architectural styles. The cathedral grounds feature the main church, five smaller churches, a bell tower, and an artificial stone cave. A majestic lake lies in front of the cathedral, while a stunning mountain serves as its backdrop.
3.2. Phuong Dinh (the bell tower)
The Phuong Dinh bell tower, an icon of Phat Diem Stone Church, stretches an impressive 21 meters wide and 25 meters tall. Adorned with reliefs depicting saints and stories associated with Jesus, the three-story tower houses five tower blocks on its top floor. The central tower block houses a 1.9-meter-tall bell weighing a staggering 2 tons. The remaining four blocks are adorned with statues of four saints. From the top of Phuong Dinh, visitors can admire the breathtaking scenery surrounding Phat Diem Cathedral.
3.3. The main church
Situated at the heart of Phat Diem Cathedral, the main church spans 74 meters in length and 21 meters in width. It features four roofs and five intricately carved entrances. The worship area boasts an altar crafted from a single piece of stone, intricately carved with patterns representing the four seasons. Flanking the main church are smaller churches, their pillars, walls, and doors meticulously adorned with carvings.
3.4. Trai Tim Duc Me Stone Church
Among the five small churches, Trai Tim Duc Me Stone Church (the Heart of Our Lady) stands out the most. Spanning 15.3 meters in length and 8.5 meters in width, this church is entirely crafted from stone, including the foundation, pillars, beams, and walls. It is occasionally used for Christmas celebrations, when the church is adorned with colorful lights, creating a magnificent atmosphere.
4. Some notes for your excursion to Phat Diem Cathedral
Since Phat Diem Cathedral is a spiritual destination, it is important to keep in mind a few essential notes when visiting:
- Refrain from making loud noises.
- Dress modestly and avoid revealing clothing.
- Wear comfortable shoes for easy mobility.
- Carry water, an umbrella, or a hat during summer to protect yourself from the harsh sunlight.
- Remove your hat when entering the cathedral.