Phat Diem Cathedral Ninh Binh is in Kim Son District of Ninh Binh Province. It has oriental architecture. This cathedral is far about 120 kilometers from Hanoi to the south, built in 1875s to 1898s. ‘Phat Diem’ means generating beauty, named by Nguyen Cong Tru. The church was built during the 24 consecutive years.
With the technical level and traffic conditions of the late 19th century, the method to transfer thousands of tons of stone, hundreds of ironwood trees to Phat Diem in order to build the cathedral is very difficult. Kim Son is the new land, before, it is very muddy. So as to solve subsidence of this area before building, people moved a small mountain to Phat Diem. Visitors can see So Mountain; it is a part of the mountain which had been moved to Phat Diem.
This is an Eastern architectural ensemble including Lake, Phuong Dinh, cathedral with 4 churches on the sides, 3 man-made grottos, stone churches.
Phuong Dinh is the first area in the architectural planning of Phat Diem. This architecture has 25 meters height, 17 meters width, 24 meters length consisting of three floors built of boulder. With the craft, local workers assembled thousands of boulders along with a high degree of accuracy. In the middle of Phuong Dinh, it has a monolithic table; outside and inside, there has the bas-relief carved images of Jesu with elegant lines. The second floor of Phuong Dinh, it hangs a big drum. The third floor hung a bell with 1.4 meters height, 1.1 meters in diameter and 2000 kilograms weight. This big bell was casted in 1890. Phuong Dinh’s roof has five arches; the highest arch is in the middle of the third floor. Roof of Phuong Dinh in Phat Diem cathedral is not soaring as the other churches; it has ancient roof and same the roof of temple, pagoda.
Cathedral: Cathedral is the main church built in 1891. It has 5 entrances and carved arch. The cathedral has 74 meters length, 21 meters width, 15 meters height and 4 roofs. Inside the church there includes 6 monolithic ironwood columns; two rows of columns with 11 meters height, 2.35 meters in circumference, 10 tons weight in each column. Besides, it has a large altar was made by a monolithic boulder with 3 meters length, 0.9 meters width, 0.8 meters height and 20 tons weight. In the front of the boulder, it was carved with flowers of the four seasons. Two sides of the cathedral are 4 churches with the unique architectural.
Stone Church: stone church is called the church dedicated to Our Lady. Called the stone church because everything in the church is made of stone: walls, columns… Inside, there have a number of bas-reliefs.
Artificial grotto: in the northern of Phat Diem cathedral has 3 grottos created by rocks with different sizes, Lo Thien Grotto is the most beautiful.
Phat Diem Cathedral is a unique architecture in Vietnam. The magnificent structure but harmony with the natural scenery with the style of oriental architecture, the cathedral will bring you exciting time and unforgettable impression.
Many travellers visit Phat Diem by motorcycle from Ninh Binh. It’s also within reach by bicycle for the energetic. The main road to Kim Son tends to be busy. If you travel with a guide or a xe om motorcycle taxi, ask to travel the quiet route.