100-year-old Christian vestige finds refuge in volcano’s shadow

By Nguyen Chi Nam   December 27, 2019 | 10:06 am GMT+7

H'Bau Church at the foot of a century-old extinct volcano in Gia Lai Province has absolved generations of Central Highland minorities over more than a century.

Chu Dang Ya Mountain, or wild ginger root in Jrai, is blessed with a variety of wild sunflowers endemic to Chu Pah District, Gia Lai Province, about 30 kilometers from Gia Lais capital Pleiku. The pan-shaped volcano dates back millions of years, providing shelter to remains of HBau Church.

Chu Dang Ya Mountain, or "wild ginger root" in Jrai, is blessed with a variety of wild sunflowers endemic to Chu Pah District, Gia Lai Province, about 30 kilometers from Gia Lai's capital Pleiku. The pan-shaped volcano dates back millions of years, providing shelter to remains of H'Bau Church.

A path dissecting Ngo Son rice field leads to the church in Xoa Village, fed by fresh spring water cascading from Chu Nam, the highest mountain in the province and considered brother to Chu Dang Ya Volcano.

A path dissecting Ngo Son rice field leads to the church in Xoa Village, fed by fresh spring water cascading from Chu Nam, the highest mountain in the province and considered brother to Chu Dang Ya Volcano.

HBau Church, built in 1909, is a marriage between French Gothic architecture and the stilt house structure typical of the Central Highlands.

H'Bau Church, built in 1909, is a marriage between French Gothic architecture and the stilt house structure typical of the Central Highlands.

The church has survived the test of war and over 100 years of use. Today, HBau only retains part of its bell tower and facade. The tower is still intact and solid, allowing visitors a visualization of its past.

The church has survived the test of war and over 100 years of use. Today, H'Bau only retains part of its bell tower and facade. The tower is still intact and solid, allowing visitors a visualization of its past.

Bricks used to build the church were supplied by Christians who later became parishioners at H’Bau Church.

Bricks used to build the church were supplied by Christians who later became parishioners at H’Bau Church.

The old cross depicting the death of Jesus is still polished and cleaned regularly. Though a new church serves local believers, many Jrai, a big minority community across Gia Lai, still attend the old church every day, carrying with them flowers and prayers.

The old cross depicting the death of Jesus is still polished and cleaned regularly. Though a new church serves local believers, many J'rai, a big minority community across Gia Lai, still attend the old church every day, carrying with them flowers and prayers.

The vitality of flowers planted by locals underscores the solemn backdrop of the church, attracting many devout visitors.

The vitality of flowers planted by locals underscores the solemn backdrop of the church, attracting many devout visitors.

A few hundred meters away, hills of meadows flirting with the wind beckon bypassers.

A few hundred meters away, hills of meadows flirting with the wind beckon bypassers.

The idyllic landscape on the Chu Dang Ya volcano in winter is punctuated with the blooming wild sunflowers.

The idyllic landscape on Chu Dang Ya Volcano in winter is punctuated with the blooming wild sunflowers.

 
 
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