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Phat Diem Cathedral: Inside the Catholic capital of Vietnam

01/01/2024 7.075

Phat Diem Cathedral is one of the oldest cathedrals in Vietnam, with the age of more than 100 years. The cathedral draws many tourists due to its unique blend of Eastern and Western architecture.

Phat Diem Cathedral

Phat Diem Cathedral is famous not only as a spiritual masterpiece in Ninh Binh but also as a unique architectural work. Thus, it attracts a large number of tourists every year. If you are planning to visit Ninh Binh, remember to add this cathedral to your itinerary.

1. Where is Phat Diem Cathedral? How to get there?

  • Address: Phat Diem town, Kim Son district, Ninh Binh

Phat Diem Cathedral, also known as Phat Diem Stone Church, is a 22-hectare complex. It comprises several Catholic works and sanctuaries, such as ponds, lakes, churches, and artificial caves, which were erected between 1875 and 1899.

  • How to get to Phat Diem Cathedral?

Phat Diem Cathedral is about 120 kilometers away from Hanoi, so it takes about 2 hours to get there. Visitors can easily travel to the cathedral by many means of transportation, such as motorbikes, cars, taxis, or buses. 

Phat Diem Cathedral

It is easy to get to Phat Diem Cathedral (Source: Collected)

  • Motorbike/ Car: When you arrive in Ninh Binh, get to National Road 10. Then go for 28 kilometers to reach Phat Diem town. When you see the ancient Ngoi Bridge, go on for 200 meters then turn right. Continue on for 250 meters to reach Phat Diem Cathedral.
  • Taxi: This is an ideal option for a group of friends or a family. You can call a taxi company or book a ride on a mobile application to get to Phat Diem Cathedral.
  • Bus: You can catch a bus from My Dinh Bus Station or Giap Bat Bus Station in Hanoi to Ninh Binh City. It costs about VND 70,000 to 100,000 VND. Then, you can catch a taxi to the cathedral.

2. History of Phat Diem Stone Cathedral

Phat Diem Cathedral has a long history. In 1862, the priest Tran Luc surveyed the entire land of Ninh Binh. He chose this place to build the cathedral. In 1875, the construction of Phat Diem Cathedral started. In 1898, the construction was officially complete.

Constructing the Phat Diem Stone Cathedral took a lot of labor as the workers had to transport thousands of tons of stone and hundreds of ironwood pillars. Thanks to their effort, Ninh Binh now has a masterpiece that can leave any visitors in awe when they come here.

Phat Diem Cathedral

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3. Explore the unique architecture of Phat Diem Cathedral Ninh Binh

3.1. The sublime combination of Eastern and Western architecture

Unlike the traditional architecture of other cathedrals in Vietnam, the highlight of Phat Diem Cathedral's architecture is the combination of Eastern and Western styles. The grounds of the cathedral include a main church, 5 small churches, a bell tower, and an artificial stone cave. There is a lake in front of the cathedral and a mountain behind. 

Phat Diem Cathedral

3.2. Phuong Dinh (the bell tower)

Phuong Dinh bell tower is known as an icon of Phat Diem Stone Church. The bell tower is 21 meters wide and 25 meters tall. On its side are the reliefs of some saints and stories associated with Jesus. The bell tower has 3 floors. The top floor of Phuong Dinh has 5 tower blocks, and the central tower block has a 1.4-meter-tall bell weighing 2 tons. Inside the remaining four blocks are statues of 4 saints. From here, you can admire all the scenery around Phat Diem Cathedral.

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3.3. The main church

The main church is situated in the heart of Phat Diem Cathedral. It is 74 meters long and 21 meters wide, with 4 roofs and 5 intricately carved entrances. The worship area has an altar made of monolithic stone; its front and back are carved with extricated patterns representing the four seasons. On both sides of the main church are small churches whose pillars, walls, and doors are meticulously carved.

Phat Diem Cathedral

3.4. Trai Tim Duc Me Stone Church

Trai Tim Duc Me Stone Church (the Heart of Our Lady in English) is the most noticeable among the 5 small churches. It is 15.3 meters long and 8.5 meters wide. All details, such as the foundation, pillars, beams, walls, are made of stone. This church is occasionally used to celebrate Christmas. At that time, the church is shimmering with colorful lights from the ornaments, creating a magnificent ambiance.

4. Some notes for your excursion to Phat Diem Cathedral

Because Phat Diem Cathedral is a spiritual tourist attraction, you should keep in mind some essential notes below when visiting this place:

  • Refrain from making loud noises
  • Dress modestly, avoid revealing clothes
  • Wear sports shoes for mobility
  • Bring water, an umbrella, or a hat in summer to protect your skin from harsh sunlight
  • Take off your hat when going inside

Besides Phat Diem Cathedral, you can visit other famous cathedrals in Vietnam, such as Notre Dame Cathedral Saigon, Nha Trang Cathedral, St. Joseph’s Cathedral, and Da Nang Cathedral

Phat Diem Cathedral

After exploring Ninh Binh tourist attractions, it is recommended that you visit other alluring destinations across Vietnam, like Phu Quoc, Nha Trang, Hoi An, and Ha Long

For the best travel experience, consider accommodation as a top priority. Among thousands of lodging brands, Vinpearl is one of the most trusted names in Vietnam due to its prime locations and excellent services that will help tourists enjoy a most meaningful vacation with their loved ones.

Vinpearl hotels and resorts offer visitors various accommodation options, such as rooms, suites, or villas with grandeur views and luxurious designs. Furthermore, visitors can experience all high-quality amenities, such as spas, gyms, golf courses, restaurants, and entertainment sites, when staying at one of Vinpearl properties below: 

Phat Diem Cathedral


Phat Diem Cathedral

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Phat Diem Cathedral in Ninh Binh offers tourists many things, from learning about Catholics to admiring the harmonious and unique combination of Eastern and Western architecture art. Therefore, it is undoubtedly a not-to-be-missed site in your Ninh Binh itinerary.

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