St Joseph’s Cathedral

A few days before Christmas was perhaps not the wisest time to visit St Joseph’s in the Hoàn Kiếm district of Hanoi.  It’s a popular spot in close proximity to the Lake and a number of trendy coffee shops, so the square in front of the church was a hive of activity.

I was drawn to the late 19th-century Gothic architecture which resembles the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, but a clean shot was near impossible because of the crowds, combined with its’ sheer magnitude

I was surprised to find such a large Cathedral in a primarily Buddhist country, but I’m told there are roughly 4-million Catholics living in Vietnam and St Joseph’s was one of the first structures built by the French colonial government in Indochina, hence it is also the oldest church in Hanoi.



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