- Category: Ninh Binh
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Phat Diem Stone Cathedral, lies 28 km East of Ninh Binh city, was constructed from 1875 to 1899. And as its name suggests, it was completely built of stone and wood that are readily available in the mountain area of Ninh Binh. The preparation phase, mainly extracting materials from limestone mountains, took the local as many as 10 years to finish.
It is an extremely artistic, cultural and religious work of Luu Phuong commune, Kim Son district. The site is not only a harmonious combination between the architecture of Asian pagodas and European church but also shows skillful techniques of Vietnamese artisans since the XIX century (1875-1899). This Stone 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.
Thanks to skillful techniques of Vietnamese artisans and special design, Phat Diem Cathedral is a pride of Vietnamese people in general and many locals in Ninh Binh in particular. It is also an attractive-tourist destination in Vietnam travel.