Phat Diem Church – the convergence of East – West architecture

Phat Diem stone church near Tam Coc Ninh Binh is uniquely designed, showing the harmony between Buddhism and Christianity and is also the boldest East-West cultural combination. Phat Diem church complex includes 1 large church and 5 small churches, including a church designed entirely of natural stone, called a stone church, a communal house and 3 artificial caves.

Phat Diem Cathedral near Tam Coc Ninh Binh was built from 1875-1899, an architectural complex, including: pond, communal house, large church with four churches on both sides, three artificial caves and stone church. The architectural space of the church has a strong oriental culture in the style of “pre-prime, post-mountain”, which means that there is a lake in front, and a rocky mountain in the back, the concept of the ancients here gathers happiness and gatherings. Wishing the people’s life to be peaceful and good.

Visitors to the church near Tam Coc Ninh Binh will first encounter a rectangular pond, in the middle is a small island with a tower of Jesus as king. Next is Phuong Dinh (Phuong Dinh means square house), this is a massive stone structure (24m wide, 25m high, 17m long) in the shape of a large village communal house. The house consists of 3 floors. The largest lower floor is built of green slate, it is a marvel to the local craftsmen who have assembled the stones weighing thousands of pounds, the level of precision is very high. The arches are also assembled with exquisite stone. In the middle of the communal house is a monolithic stone collapse, outside and inside are stone reliefs carved with beautiful images of Jesus and saints with elegant lines. The second floor of the communal house hangs a large drum. The third floor hangs a bell cast in 1890, 1.4m high, 1.1m in diameter, weighing nearly two tons. The roof of the communal house has five arches, four at the lower four corners, the highest arch is the one in the middle of the third floor. The roof of Phuong Dinh in Phat Diem church is not towering like a Western Catholic church, but an ancient low curved roof like that of a communal house or a Vietnamese village pagoda. The two outer walls of Phuong Dinh are stone bars in the shape of bamboo, on the outer walls of the lower floor there are reliefs depicting the story of Jesus from entering Jerusalem to ascending to heaven.

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