Saint Joseph Cathedral
(also called Hanoi Cathedral), located at 40 Nha Chung street, Hanoi
, is a Roman Catholic cathedral with neo- gothic style, which was built about 120 years ago.
In 1882, after the French army conquered Hanoi, the cathedral was constructed and completed in 1886. It was closed in 1975 upon the reunification of Vietnam, and was not reopened until 1985. The cathedral and Nha Chung area were built on the land formerly belonging to Bao Thien pagoda, which was built under Ly dynasty.
The architecture with domes of the cathedral follows the Gothic style and design of Paris Cathedral. It is 64.5m in length, 20.5m in width with two bell towers of 31.5m-height. Though the appearance of the cathedral, from the doors, the colorful window glass, to the religious paintings for decoration follows Western style, the main interior part is decorated in Vietnamese way with two typical colors yellow and red. Outside, in front of the cathedral is the statue of Mother Maria.
The special thing is that space around Hanoi Cathedral is an ideal meeting place for local residents in Hanoi, especially youngsters, to get away from the bustle and noise of the city. When it gets darker, groups of friends flock to the space to enjoy themselves. To enjoy this kind of entertainment, you can feast and drink with your friends in this open space. The bell striking from the church at meditative moments sways your mind. That is a great and romantic feeling. Young people have flocked to the cathedral because the church view and tranquil street corners will fuel their romantic liaison. Couples hand in hand show their love. Others regard it as a playground for chatting or a stage for music performances.
On Christmas Eve, the Cathedral is always crowded