Notre Dame Cathedral



Notre Dame Cathedral

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The basilica-style Notre Dame Cathedral, or Nha Tho Duc Ba, is the largest church ever built in the French Empire. When it was completed in 1880, its 40-m (120-ft) spires made it the tallest structure in the city. At first glance it seems to be brick-built, but in fact, the façade is made of red tiles brought over from Marseilles and attached to granite walls. Stained-glass windows from Chartres were installed, but destroyed during WWII and later replaced with plain glass. The interior is relatively unadorned, but  the ambient lighting creates a calm atmosphere.

In front of the cathedral is a statue of the Virgin Mary. Made in Rome, it was brought to Vietnam in 1959 and named Holy Mary Queen of Peace, in the hope that she would bring peace to the war-torn country.

While the city’s Roman Catholic community is no longer a political force, droves of worshippers still throng the church. The belfry, open on Sundays, affords lovely views.

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