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10 churches to pique your curiosity on a tour of Vietnam

By Thanh Tuyet - Le Bich   July 17, 2017 | 11:30 am GMT+7

Many churches built during colonial times remain popular tourist attractions, and here are 10 of the favorites, from north to south.

The Rock Church of Sa Pa

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The Rock Church is one of the few colonial heritage sites in Sa Pa, and was built by the French in 1895. The building has been well preserved and stands out as an icon in the foggy mountain resort town. No cement was used in its construction, and it is held together by a mixture of sand, lime and molasses.

The Big Church

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St. Joseph’s Cathedral, built in 1886, serves as the cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hanoi for the nearly four million Catholics in the country, and thus is commonly known as Hanoi’s Big Church. The building is a popular spot for photography and can be seen in many locals’ wedding collections. The area is now surrounded by cafés.

The Eclectic Church

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Phat Diem Cathedral in Ninh Binh Province, around 100 kilometers (62 miles) to the south of Hanoi, was built in 1892. It carries an eclectic blend of Vietnamese and European architectural styles,  and the roof is similar to a Buddhist pagoda. The church was bombed during the Vietnam War in 1972, but restoration work has returned it to its former glory.

The Wooden Church

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The century-old Cathedral of Kon Tum in the Central Highlands is considered the largest wooden church in Vietnam. Although its architecture is typical of the Romanesque style of Europe, the presence of local ethnic culture can be found in sculpted decorative details and the way beams and columns are tightly joined without nails or any kind of glue.

The Hill Church

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Buon Ho Church is named after a town in Dak Lak Province, where it stands on a hill. First built in 1970 and renovated in 2008, the gothic church resembles the more famous Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral and is considered one of the most beautiful in the Central Highlands.

The Cherry Church

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Domain de Marie Cathedral in Da Lat is better known as the Cherry Church after the trees planted around it. The church was built between 1930 and 1943 and is another perfect blend of western and local ethnic architecture.

The Rooster Church

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The French left more than one church in their beloved Da Lat. The resort town’s biggest church, built between 1931 and 1942, is officially named Saint Nicolas Cathedral, but it is better known as Rooster Church after a statue that stands on top of the 47-meter bell tower, which can be seen from almost anywhere in the resort town. The church was built in the Romanesque style with 70 stained glass windows imported from France.

The Rock Church of Nha Trang

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The Mountain Church stands on a 12-meter plinth in the center of the famous resort town of Nha Trang, and was built between 1929 and 1935 with a 28-meter tall bell tower. The gothic church was built using a kind of brick made from cement and gravel which many people mistake for stone, and thus the nickname the Rock Church.

The Dead Priest Church

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Tac Say Church in the Mekong Delta’s Bac Lieu Province is also known as Father Diep Church, as it is the home of the tomb of Truong Buu Diep, a highly respected Vietnamese Catholic priest who is believed to have died protecting his followers during the war in 1946.

Notre Dame Cathedral

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The Saigon church is one of the top architectural attractions in the country, partly because it offers a note of calm and ancient grace that's in striking contrast to the intense hustle of the city, the busiest in Vietnam. The church was built between 1877 and 1880 and every brick was imported from France. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran

Tourists will only be able to view the Saigon church from the outside for the next two years because it has been closed for renovation work.