Phat Diem Stone Church is located in Kim Son district of Ninh Binh province. This is one of the famous church in Vietnam. The church looks like the temple in Vietnam. It was built of stone and wood all in 24 years.
This Stone Cathedral is a complex comprising of a lake, a cathedral, a stone church, Phuong Dinh (bell house) and three artificial grottoes.
At first sight, visitors are easily attracted to square lake on the main road to the cathedral. In the middle of the lake, there is a small island with statue of Jesus Christ. Phuong Dinh easily becomes the next eye-catching monument, with stone carvings on both sides of the walls. It is 25 m high, 17m wide and 24m long with three stories. The first floor is covered by large green flagstones. The middle and upper floors house a large drum and a big bell respectively.
As visitors leave Phuong Dinh, they will see a great cathedral which was built in 1891with the official name “Nha tho Duc Me Man Coi”. The cathedral is 74 meters long, 21 meters wide and 15 meters high with four roofs. It was built of 6 rows of monolithic ironwood. Within the cathedral are four small churches of different styles.
Next to the grand cathedral is a stone church with initial name “Nha Tho Trai tim Vo Nhiem Nguyen Toi Duc Me” but now people usually refer to it as” Stone church” because from its walls, pillars, ground, bars to tie beams are made of stone. The inside of the church has many sophisticatedly carved reliefs, with chrysanthemum, bamboo, fir tree and apricot tree that symbolize four seasons in a year. Around Phat Diem Cathedral, there are a lot of beautiful stone caves and artificial mountains.
Phat Diem Stone Cathedral is an extremely artistic, cultural and religious work. The site is not only a harmonious combination between the architecture of Asian pagodas and European church but also shows skilful techniques of Vietnamese artisans since the 19th century (1875-1899). Phat Diem cathedral is not only the pride of Vietnamese Catholics, but also of Vietnamese architecture in general.