Vinh Nghiem Pagoda

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Completed with aid from the Japan-Vietnam Friendship Association in 1971, this is, by some measures, the largest pagoda in the city. Certainly, its eight-story tower, located immediately to the left of a high gate, is the tallest. Each side of the tower is adorned with an image of the Buddha in high relief. To the right of the gate is a smaller, 16-ft (5-m) high tower, built of concrete blocks. The concrete is of such quality and color that the structure appears to be made of granite.

Across a 65-ft (20-m) courtyard is the large, squat main building. A steep staircase leads up to the sanctuary where five massive lacquerware doors lead into the vast first room. The walls here are lined with well-executed paintings of scriptural scenes and explanatory notes are posted alongside. Farther in is the main altar with a huge, seated Buddha, flanked by disciples.

Behind the sanctuary lies a  solemn room, filled with photo- graphs and memorials to the  departed. A statue of the goddess Quan Am sits on the altar here.

On the second floor, a cloister leads into an art gallery where local artists show their works. Rock and topiary gardens flank the building.

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