Introduce Phat Diem Stone Church
The church complex is a combination of Eastern pagoda architecture and Western Gothic architecture, creating an architectural complex such as a pond and the Virgin Mary chapel.
Not built in a towering or massive architectural style like the churches in the Hai Hau Nam Dinh area, Phat Diem church’s architecture follows the direction of communal houses, pagodas, and temples. The church is designed with a curved roof like a pagoda, next to it is a cross resting on a lotus, like Buddha sitting on a lotus.
This church was built in 1892 and completed more than 30 years later, until now it is the oldest church in our country. If you come to Ninh Binh to explore the natural beauty of Tam Coc – Bich Dong, Trang An, a world-famous scenic complex, or Bai Dinh Pagoda, a pagoda that holds many records in Vietnam, do not miss this tourist destination his famous spiritualist!
When should you go to Phat Diem Stone Church?
You can visit Phat Diem stone church at any time of the year. However, to clearly feel the atmosphere and fully admire the beauty of a Catholic building, Christmas time will be the most suitable.
Because at this time, the stone church is filled with sparkling, colorful lights along with miniature decorations and splendid pine trees. Especially at this time, there are many attractive programs and festival activities for parishioners.
Coming here, you will be amazed by the massive appearance and extremely unique design of the church. These include ponds, lakes, statues, bell towers, cathedrals, artificial stone caves… the materials to build the church were also transported from distant lands such as Nghe An and Thanh Hoa. … hundreds of kilometers away to be able to return to Ninh Binh to build this church. Under rudimentary working conditions, thousands of tons of stone and hundreds of ironwood trees with a length of up to 12 meters weighing over 7 tons were transported to build this project.
Unlike other churches in Vietnam, the highlight of Phat Diem stone church’s architecture is the harmonious combination of Eastern and Western architecture. All items are arranged in an overall “王” shape. The open and closed space in the Eastern style clearly shows that the feng shui element is the lake in front and the mountain in the back, according to the concept of the ancients, they want everything to go well and bring peace to life.
Phat Diem Cathedral complex includes a large church and 5 small churches. There is a church built of natural stone, called a stone church, in addition to a bell tower and an artificial stone cave.
Phuong Dinh (Bell Tower)
This is probably a masterpiece of Phat Diem Ninh Binh stone church, Phuong Dinh means square house shaped like a large village communal house with a width of 21m and a height of 25m with 3 floors. Phuong Dinh’s entrance gate is designed like a Tam Quan gate in traditional architecture, built of green stone with sophisticated techniques. On the cliffs are bas-reliefs of a number of saints and carvings of the story of Jesus. The top floor of Phuong Dinh has 5 tower blocks, the central tower block houses a bell weighing 2 tons and with a height of up to 1.9 m. The special thing about this bell is that it can emit sound 10 km away. The remaining four blocks on top are statues of 4 saints copying 4 books of gospel, placed like lotus buds, showing the harmony between Eastern and Western cultures.
Large church area
Located in the center is a large church area with a length of 74m and a width of 21m with 4 roofs and 5 intricately carved entrances. The main space is a church with a large altar made of monolithic stone, the front and back are carved with patterns typical of the four seasons. Along with that, the small churches are also extremely unique with columns, floors, walls, doors… all carved from stone.
The roof system is built in the traditional stacked roof style with two roof floors, interrupted by windows to let in light and create a high roof height. At the end of the church is a palanquin made from marble and arched into 5 ways leading into the church. The ground and facade are all level with the highest point in the middle and gradually lower on both sides. The top of the tower is covered with funny-shaped tiles with delicate curved ends, evoking the unique combination of two Indochina architectural styles. The wooden altarpieces in the church are painted with golden steel, creating a traditional Vietnamese worship space.
Heart of the Virgin Mary
In the system of 5 small churches in Phat Diem, there is a house made of stone called the Heart of Mary. The project was first built by Mr. Sau at this cluster of relics.
The church is 15.3 m long and 8.5 m wide. Most of the foundations, columns, beams, walls, bars, towers… are made of stone. Therefore, Phat Diem is often called the Stone Church.
The Christmas festival is a major Catholic holiday, so this is an opportunity for major community cultural activities for the parishioners of Phat Diem diocese. Christmas night, the church is sparklingly decorated with brightly colored lights. System of stone caves, pine trees, luminescent lights. Creating a unique and magnificent space different from the usual Christmas holiday, which is held solemnly and sacredly, creates an attraction for locals and tourists at Christmas Eve.
After more than 100 years of existence under the impact of natural disasters and wars, this work is still solid and maintains its original state to this day. The architectural complex of Kim Son stone church was ranked as a national historical and cultural relic in 1988.
Phat Diem Church is a church architectural work. But modeled after traditional Vietnamese pagoda architecture with a boat-shaped curved roof, the church is built entirely of Lim wood, a type of wood commonly built in pagodas in Vietnam. In addition, stones were also taken from Thien Duong mountain, 30km from Phat Diem. More precious stones are taken from Nhui Mountain near Thanh Hoa.
Wooden trees weighing 7 tons and stone slabs weighing up to 20 tons were transported in a primitive way to Ninh Binh to build Phat Diem church.
Phat Diem Church also has many other exquisitely carved details. Around the building are decorated countless familiar images taken from Vietnamese villages such as Long – Ly – Quy – Phuong, pine, chrysanthemum, bamboo, apricot; or the image familiar to Vietnamese Buddhism is the lotus flower. The reliefs are skillfully carved on monolithic green stone carvings made by stone carving artists at that time.
It can be said that Phat Diem Stone Church is a unique project with the interference between Buddhism and Christianity and architectural features combining East – West culture. With a style and architecture bearing the mark of traditional Asian temples, the stone church is not only a place to bring faith to Catholics but also creates peace and protection for Vietnamese people. .
The stone church is an attractive tourist attraction for domestic and foreign tourists when coming to Ninh Binh.