Phu Cam Cathedral and Redeemer Church are two of the beautiful structures in Hue city, Vietnam, with a history of hundreds of years.
These two destinations are also famous attractions in Hue for tourists when traveling to this city. Now we explore these critical cathedrals.
Phu Cam Cathedral
Phu Cam Cathedral (or Phu Cam Church) is located on Phuoc Qua hill, Phuoc Vinh Ward, Hue City, Vietnam.
Around the 17th century, Phu Cam located on the banks of the An Cuu River, which was the residence for the sons of the Nguyen Lords.
In the Nguyen Kings’ dynasty, this place continued to be chosen to build houses for the royal relatives.
The history of this church began in the year 1682, under the Nguyen Lords. The starting point is only a bamboo chapel built by priest Langlois.
After many changes in place, form, and architecture, it was until 1898 that Phu Cam church was rebuilt by Bishop Eugène Marie Allys in 1898, and was completed in 1902. And the church has owned the style of European architecture.
When Hue Diocese was raised to the rank of Archdiocese in 1960, the new Archbishop, Ngo Dinh Thuc, had a new church built according to architect Ngo Viet Thu’s project.
In 1963, the church was officially started construction, but because of continuous political events that caused the building work to be delayed. Until 2000, after 37 years, Phu Cam Cathedral was completed.
Despite the new style, Phu Cam church architecture still has the influence of a Western church, with a building in the form of a cross and decorative motifs of Catholic mode.
However, this church is added into the philosophy of Eastern feng shui, which is also featured in the designs of architect Ngo Viet Thu.
The highlight of this church is the facade with two bell towers reaching up to the sky like an opened Bible, and at the same time, it has the appearance of a dragon head with its mouth opening.
And although it was built with rough stone, the Cathedral is the balance of proportions and lines that make the front of Phu Cam church extraordinarily soft and elegant.
The heart of the church can accommodate nearly 2,500 people, with parabolic support arches covering the center, creating new feelings but reminiscent of the classic arch architecture of Western churches.
Two rows of stained-glass windows on both sides help keep the church full of light.
The sanctuary was built with a high level gradually, with a 3-step circle background symbolizing Thien – Dia – Nhan (Heaven – Earth – Human beings) in the middle; the table is carved from monolithic marble made by Non Nuoc stone artisans in Da Nang City.
The crucifix with the statue of the suffering God was created from a pine tree taken from the Thien An Hill, in the mountainous area southwest of Hue city.
It can be said that Phu Cam church is one of the architectural masterpieces of Catholicism with the record-setting time in the history of church construction in Vietnam.
This work was also one of the highlights in the career of architect Ngo Viet Thu, adding to his other famous works such as Independence Palace, and Dalat Atomic Institute.
Besides Phu Cam Cathedral, another church in Hue is equally famous for its scale and architectural beauty; that is the Redeemer Church.
The forerunner of this building was a small chapel of the people following to Duc Me Hang Cuu Giup ( the Congregation of Our Lady of Perpetual Help) in Hue, founded in 1933.
The Redeemer Church is located on Nguyen Hue Street, Hue City.
By 1954, the Parish of Our Lady of Perpetual Help of Hue was established, which led to the need for a new ceremony place for monks and parishioners in this new area.
A few years later, the Redemptorist church officially started building under the project of architect Nguyen My Loc.
The inauguration ceremony and dedication were held in August 1962 under the presiding over the Archbishop Ngo Dinh Thuc.
The location of the Redemptorist monastery and church is quite unique: right behind the An Dinh summer palace, which was built under King Khai Dinh, on the bank of the An Cuu river.
In addition, in the past, An Cuu field was the place to grow and produce an extraordinary type of rice called de rice. Under the Nguyen Dynasty, this type of rice was often supplied for use in royal meals and royal banquets.
The Redeemer church is one of the good examples of the total architecture of East-West in design. The church’s architecture is also shaped like a cross according to the standards of established European churches, but overall, the influence of Asian architecture is evident in it. In particular, the octagonal bell tower has the impact of the typical style of traditional Vietnamese temples.
The internal church is 38 m wide and 72 m long, showing the ingenuity of the designer in adjusting the proportions and coordinating the east-west influence.
The arch of the church is wide and high, with the arrangement of columns and the high arch of the Gothic form. Many windows help the light coming inside quickly.
The harmonious color combination of the stained-glass system is reminiscent of the traditional five-color system used in the skills of porcelain and the decorations in the imperial palaces in Hue city.
Instead of building enclosed walls, the use of the glass for the entire walls creates a splendid but still majestic appearance for the sanctuary of the Redemptorist church.
For many people, Hue is famous for its temples, mausoleums, and temples with nostalgic and ancient features associated with the Nguyen Dynasty, the last monarchy of Vietnam. But in a certain corner, the churches in Hue have given this land with tranquil areas.