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Notre Dame meets St Joseph


St Joseph’s Cathedral,  Hanoi,  Vietnam,  September 2017

This neo-gothic cathedral dominates a small square in Hanoi’s old quarter, on the west side of Hoàn Kiếm Lake.

It was built on the site of the Bao Thien Pagoda, a sacred Buddhist temple, which was demolished to make way for this after the French captured the Hanoi Citadel in 1872.  The twin towers and neo-gothic style clearly demonstrate the influence that Notre Dame de Paris had on the design of this cathedral.


The building was consecrated on December 24, 1886 and has had its own traumatic history since then.

Following the 1954 Geneva Accords and the Viet Minh’s control of North Vietnam, the Catholic church was subject to persecution , with theft and damage of property and arrests of those associated with the church.  St Joseph’s itself was closed and did not reopen until Christmas Eve 1990, 104 years after its consecration.




Copyright Debbie Smyth, 9 November 2017

Posted as part of Thursday Special

6 replies »

    • Hi Paula
      Hope you had a great break.
      Yes, I was quite shocked to learn its background. Vietnam has had a traumatic history but it’s such a friendly place that it’s hard to imagine what it has been through.


      • I believe you. My break was what I needed and it went great despite quite a few obstacles. We are now waiting for a hard disc with the only copy of my photos to come from Tenerife 😀


        • That’s where we were most of the time, but also did a few days on Gomera. When I was in England enjoying English rain this summer, I told to myself – I am a nutter – all English people travel to the Canaries and we go to England. That’s when I decide that the next trip would be to Tenerife 😉


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