Situated 120km away from Hanoi, the cathedral complex of Phat Diem in Kim Son District, Ninh Binh is known to be a masterpiece of architecture and sculpture.
Commenced in 1875 and completed in 1898, Phat Diem cathedral was built of stone and wood, spams over 22ha and is regarded to be the finest cathedral in Vietnam. Most surprisingly, despite its function as a Catholic church, architecture patterns in Phat Diem Cathedral are quintessential in Vietnamese temples and pagodas.
From the main cathedral 74m long with 48 wooden pillars and tiled roofs to its belfry, from the stone church carved with the four sacred animals and the cloister, all are extremely sophisticated, carefully chiseled and suggestive of local cultural essences. Bishop Tran Luc, the architect of this construction, carefully anticipated of the cathedral’s architecture as he wished to strengthen religious harmony and solidarity of different cultures.
The best time to visit Phat Diem Cathedral is during Christmas. Christmas of Phat Diem is the hub of religious activities in the region. The landscape is sparkling and full of choirs and prayers that entice throngs of pilgrims. Besides its vibrant landscape and atmosphere, the region also greets its visitors with a unique local delicacy – Kim Son liquor and rattan handicrafts, all of which are skillfully made by the locals. Those who have never travelled to Phat Diem can barely imagine such a robust and busy atmosphere in this calm and peaceful area.