St. Joseph Cathedral Hanoi: A Journey Through Time and Faith

St. Joseph Cathedral Hanoi

St. Joseph Cathedral Hanoi is a famous historical site that Indian tourists should visit on the Vietnam trip. The church attracts locals and tourists daily due to its classic architecture and long-lasting history. In this article, we will explore the history of St Joseph Cathedral and useful guidance before visiting it.

History of St. Joseph Cathedral Hanoi

St. Joseph Cathedral Hanoi 2

St. Joseph Cathedral is one of the first and largest Western architectural works in Hanoi. It was built within four years, from 1882 to 1886. On December 24, 1886, St. Joseph Cathedral was inaugurated, and the first Mass was celebrated.

The church was built in Gothic architecture. It was a typical architectural style of cathedrals in Europe, which was very popular in the 12th century.

In 1895, the clock on the church tower and the church’s five bells were ordered to be made in France and shipped to Vietnam for installation and operation. The church underwent two big restorations in 1953 and 2020 to preserve its artistic values and enhance its beauty.

Today, St. Joseph Cathedral has become the largest cultural and religious symbol in Hanoi, attracting many tourists and parishioners to visit every day.

Architecture of St. Joseph Cathedral Hanoi

Exterior Design

Outside St. Joseph Cathedral Hanoi

Dimension: St. Joseph Cathedral in Hanoi has a length of 55m, a width of 33m, a high roof of 17m, and two 31m high towers.

Materials: It was built from materials in Vietnam, such as bricks and terracotta roof tiles.

Bell towers: The church stands out with two bell towers on both sides. In the middle of the church is a stone cross creating a highlight; below are a clock and a large statue of St. Joseph.

Clock: The church’s clock is exceptionally large and has three dials displayed at its middle building and two towers. It is the largest tower clock in Vietnam to date. In front of the church square, there is a statue of Mother Maria made of copper, surrounded by flowers and trees.

Interior Design

Inside St. Joseph Cathedral Hanoi

Entry: From the square leading to the church, there is a large door in the middle and two small doors on both sides of the tower.

Doors and windows: In a typical Gothic style, the church has wide, pointed arches and arched doors and windows. These doors and windows are decorated with beautiful and harmonious colored glass paintings of saints, creating a source of natural light inside the church.

Statue: On the left of the interior space is the statue of Our Lady of La Vang, and on the right is the altar of Saint Teresa. In addition, inside the Hanoi cathedral is a grand pipe organ given from Japan on November 23, 2022.

Chancel: The most solemn area of the church is decorated with traditional folk art and intricately carved patterns. In the primary altar area of the chancel, there is a terracotta statue of Saint Joseph holding Jesus Christ, standing over 2 meters high, with saints on both sides.

Pews area: In the middle of the church is the area with pews for parishioners to attend Mass, capable of accommodating up to thousands of people.


St. Joseph Cathedral Hanoi 3

St. Joseph Cathedral is located at 40 Nha Chung Street, Hang Trong Ward, Hoan Kiem District, on the intersection of three main streets: Nha Chung, Nha Tho, and Ly Quoc Su, and near the Old Quarter of Hanoi

Opening Time

It is open from 05:00 – 11:30 AM and 02:00 – 07:00 PM daily.

The Masses occur at 05:30 AM and 06:30 PM from Monday to Saturday. Especially every Sunday has eight alternate masses from 05:00 AM to 08:00 PM (among them are two masses for foreigners – 10:00 AM by French and 11:30 AM by English)

How to Get There

Depending on the places you stay in Hanoi, you can choose one of the transportation below:

  • By Bus: Bus numbers 01, 02, 09, 14, and 36 have bus stops near St. Joseph’s Cathedral. Then, you can walk around 5 – 10 minutes to get to the church.
  • By Motorbike or Bicycle: If your hotel is in the Hanoi Old Quarter, you can rent a motorbike or a bike at the hotel to get to the church. You should navigate to the main roads, like Nha Chung, Nha Tho, and Ly Quoc Su Street.
  • By Car: there are many traditional taxis (Mailinh and Vinasun) or ride-hailing services (Grab, Gojek, and Xanh SM Taxi) for your choices.
  • Book a Vietnam tour package: This service is the most convenient option for Indian tourists. The local guide will make the schedule and take care of everything for a perfect journey to St. Joseph Cathedral and other nearby attractions in Hanoi.

Things to Do

St. Joseph Cathedral Hanoi in Christmas Eve

Following the Instructions of the Church: Ensure that your clothes are clean, modest, and polite when you enter the church. Furthermore, bringing food and drink inside is not allowed.

Visiting the Church on Christmas Eve Celebrations: St. Joseph Cathedral boasts enchanting decorations and hosts engaging activities on Christmas. You can take beautiful photos and immerse yourself in the joyous atmosphere.

Bringing Essentials for Outdoor Visits: Be prepared for Hanoi’s unpredictable weather. Carry essentials such as sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat, or an umbrella.

Savoring the Street Foods: The area around St. Joseph Cathedral is a haven for street food and local beverages. You can enjoy an iced lemonade and have Banh Mi on the pavement while admiring the exterior beauty of the church.

Exploring Nearby Attractions: Expand your itinerary by visiting neighboring attractions in Hanoi, such as Hoan Kiem Lake, Ngoc Son Temple, and the lively Walking Street. Make sure you have a camera or smartphone ready to capture the beauty of these landmarks.

Travel Tips

Ms. Sruthi - our customer
Ms. Sruthi – our customer

Before starting your trip to St. Joseph Cathedral Hanoi, you should take a look at some tips below:

  • Ensure you have a camera or smartphone to capture the picturesque moments during your visit.
  • If you plan to visit during the summer, be prepared with sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat, or an umbrella. Summer in Hanoi often brings sudden rains in the afternoon or evening. Don’t forget to bring anti-bug spray to ward off insects.
  • Around the cathedral, a variety of dining options, including Indian restaurants, traditional Vietnamese eateries, and street food stalls, are available. You won’t need to bring your food.
  • Consider visiting the cathedral on special occasions like Christmas, weekends, or during specific ceremonies of Catholicism for a more vibrant experience.
  • Inside the cathedral, refrain from bringing food and drinks. Maintain a quiet and respectful demeanor while exploring the interior.
  • Avoid making excessive noise during your visit to ensure a serene atmosphere for all visitors.


St. Joseph Cathedral Hanoi is an architectural masterpiece. Indian tourists will be mesmerized by the church’s exquisite beauty and solemn ambiance at first sight. Notice this place on your itinerary and explore other nearby attractions in Hanoi. Let’s contact us if you need our help in the Vietnam explorations.


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