Saint Joseph Cathedral Hanoi | Historical Information | Tourist Information
An Neo-Gothic Cathedral located in the heart of Hanoi Capital, Saint Joseph Cathedral is the representative evidence of the French colonial architecture.
Familiarly called by the local as “The Big Church”, Saint Joseph Cathedral is the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hanoi for more than 4 million Catholics in the country.
Another place that also represents the evidence of French colonies is Hỏa Lò Prison (also known as Maison Centrale).
Click here to read more about Hỏa Lò Prison.
- 1 A. History of St. Joseph Cathedral Hanoi
- 2 B. The Architecture of St. Jospeh Cathedral
- 3 C. Tourist Information
- 4 D. What’s next after visiting St. Joseph Cathedral?
- 5 E. Free Tour with Hanoi Free Local Tour
A. History of St. Joseph Cathedral Hanoi
A.1. The Construction:
The construction of Hanoi began in 1886, with the architectural style described as resembling the famous cathedral Notre Dame de Paris.
As an oldest church in Hanoi, St. Joseph was one of the first structure built by the French colonist during the expansion in its colonial empire Indochina.
St. Joseph was built on the site of Bao Thien Pagoda – a well-respected temple as the center of Buddhist practice in Lý-Trần dynasty demolished for the construction of the Church.
A.2. After the French colonial era:
After the retreat of French from North Vietnam in 1954, St. Joseph Cathedral is under the control the Vietnamese Nationalists and suffered decade of persecution, when priests were arrested, church property were seized and expropriated.
It was not until the Christmas Eve of 1990 that the mass was allowed to be celebrated there.
B. The Architecture of St. Jospeh Cathedral
- 64,5 meters in length, 20,5 meters in width, 31,5 meters in height.
- The façade consists of two towers, square in shape with five bells.
- The twin bell towers with the resemblance to Notre Dame de Paris.
- The exterior walls made of granite stone slabs, yet is stained with pollution with the pass of time.
- Gothic style, tall windows with pointed arches.
- Stained glass windows were produced in France then imported to Vietnam.
- Rib vaulted ceiling.
- Weathered nave with shiny sanctuary made of trimmed wood
- The statue of Virgin Mary kept in palanquin, to the left of the nave.
C. Tourist Information
C.1. Opening hour
- For Outside visit: all time
- For Inside visit: visitors can only enter the Cathedral in Hanoi in the opening time of ceremonial practice as the following schedule:
- Weekday: 5:30 am and 6:15 pm
- Saturday: 6:00 pm
- Sunday: 5:00 am, 7:00 am, 9:00 am, 11:00 am, 4:00 pm, 6:00 pm and 8:00 pm
- Special ceremony is on 19th March every year.
Visitors can easily find St. Joseph Cathedral Hanoi, located at 40 Nhà Chung street, as it lies in the connecting corner of Nhà Chung and Nhà Thờ street.
C.3. Entrance Fee/ Ticket Price
Public space and free
- take 01 to Trieu Quoc Dat street stop
- 02 to Hai Ba Trung Street stop;
- 09, 14, 36 to Hoan Kiem Lake stop and
Then walk to the Cathedral
- Motorcycle/ Bicycle: park vehicles near Hoan Kiem lake (the parking line is parallel to Cau Go Street) and walk to the Cathedral
Parking fee: 10.000 VND (0.4 USD)
D. What’s next after visiting St. Joseph Cathedral?
D.1. Where to go next?
As a benefit of location in the center of Hanoi, visitors are provided of a variety of choice for the next destinations. Visitors can consider these following:
- Hoan Kiem Lake and Ngoc Son Temple:
- Hoan Kiem Lake, the lake of Returned Swords, as the most representative site pertaining the value of Hanoi with famous historical legend.
- Ngoc Son Temple as the symbol of educational tradition of the Vietnamese
- Hoa Lo Prison: also known as Maison Centrale, a representative testimony of the period of Vietnamese revolutionary struggle against the French colonists
Address: 1 Hoa Lo Street
- Vietnam Museum of Woman: preserve and display various tangible and intangible historical and cultural heritage of Vietnamese women through the long-standing pathway of the history
Address: 36 Ly Thuong Kiet Street
D.2. Where to eat next?
- Bánh gối and deep-fried cuisine: 52 Ly Quoc Su Street
- Pork Porridge: Ngõ Huyện Street
E. Free Tour with Hanoi Free Local Tour
Visitors are highly recommended to book a free tour with Vietnamese locals when visiting St. Joseph Cathedral to understand more about its presence in the local’s social life and further fully explore Hanoi with other nearby attractions.
Free tour is organized by Hanoi Free Local Tour with tour guides are groups of young passionate and energetic students who seek to guide the foreigners as a way to practice and improve their English skills but are trained to have full knowledge about attractions in Hanoi and tour guide skill.
Booking a tour is easy as visitors only have to go to websites and place a tour’s order. Visitors will receive a confirmation from tour director and they will be picked at their hotel or arranged meeting place at time as appointed.
Written by Trang Nguyen