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The unique churches of Da Lat

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Besides offering a cool mountainous respite from Vietnam’s sweltering lowlands, Da Lat is home to two breathtaking religious structures known for the tranquility they offer.


As visitors reach the top of Prenn Pass, the gateway to Da Lat, they can see a high bell tower in the distance.

 

This is the bell tower of Nha Tho Chanh Toa Da Lat, known in English as the Da Lat Cathedral.

 

However, the church is commonly referred to as Nha Tho Con Ga because on the top of the tower was placed a bronze rooster (con ga) weathervane measuring 66 cm long and 58 cm tall.

 

Historical documents show that a small chancel was built on this site by the French in 1920 and upon it was etched, Hic Domus est Dei, which means “This is the House of Christ.”

 

Two years later a cathedral measuring 26 meters long and eight meters wide, with a 16-meter high bell tower, was built.

 

On July 19, 1931 work began on the church that stands today and was completed on January 25, 1942.

 

This church became the largest cathedral in the region, measuring 65 meters long, 14 meters wide, and boasting a 47-meter high bell tower.

 

The cathedral was used mostly by the French and other Europeans living in Da Lat.

 

The cathedral was built in the European Gothic architectural style.

 

The main doors of the cathedral face Langbian, the highest mountain in Da Lat.

 

There are 70 French-made stained glass windows that make the interior dazzlingly colorful as the sunlight shines through.

 

Da Lat Cathedral not only attracts churchgoers, but also domestic and foreign tourists.

 

Daily services start at 5:15 a.m. and 5:15 p.m. on week-days.

 

On Sundays, there are services at 5:15 a.m., 7 a.m., 8:30 a.m., 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.

 

Domaine de Marie

 

Built in 1938 on a high hill that offers a panoramic view of Da Lat, approximately eight kilometers northwest of the city, Domaine de Marie is a church used by catholic nuns of the Missionary of Charity sect in Da Lat.

 

The church was built in a 17th century European architectural style using domestic limestone.

 

Domaine de Marie has no bell tower and its façade is characterized by sharp triangular features.

 

The interior of the main hall is adorned with ornamental designs.

 

The most prominent feature of the church is a three-meter high statue of the Virgin Mary standing on a globe, which weighs approximately one ton.

 

The statue was donated by Suzanne Humbert, the wife of Jean Decoux, French general-governor of Indochina from 1940 to 1945.

 

Mrs. Humbert used to worship at Domaine de Marie and made generous donations to make upgrades and renovations to the church.

 

In 1944 she passed away in a car accident on Prenn Pass while on her way back to Da Lat to reconcile a dispute between Queen Nam Phuong and Mong Diep, a beloved concubine of Bao Dai, the last monarch in Vietnam.

 

Mrs. Humbert was buried in an area behind Domaine de Marie in accordance with her will.

 

In spring, the exterior of Domaine de Marie is accentuated by the numerous blossoms of the cherry trees planted around the church and along the road leading up to it.


Source ThanhnienNews
 
 


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