Da Lat’s communal house-style church

By Quynh Tran   March 31, 2019 | 12:24 pm GMT+7

Built of wood and stone, the 50-year-old Cam Ly Church in Da Lat bears features of a communal house in the Central Highlands region.

Da Lat’s communal house-style church

Located on a hill in the resort town of Da Lat, Cam Ly Church has the A-frame roof and structure of a Central Highlands communal house, a common architecture style among the region’s ethnic minority groups.

Da Lat’s communal house-style church - 1

Marius Boutary, a French priest doing missionary work among the ethnic minorities, completed its construction in 1968.

Nhà thờ gỗ mang kiến trúc nhà rông ở Đà Lạt

The church's main load-bearing structures are concrete columns and stone walls.

Nhà thờ gỗ mang kiến trúc nhà rông ở Đà Lạt

The roof, which soars more than 17 meters, were made with tiles, with workers laying 80,000 flat tiles with perforated holes and tying them together with wires.

Da Lat’s communal house-style church - 4

The sharp, pointy roof resembles an arrow rising into the sky and an axe when seen horizontally. These images represent rudimentary weapons associated with the daily life of the ethnic minority people.

Nhà thờ gỗ mang kiến trúc nhà rông ở Đà Lạt

The front of the church is decorated with a tiger and a phoenix symbolizing strength and wisdom, respectively. Locals say the images make them feel safer since if something were to happen, the phoenix warns from a distance and the tiger guards them. In addition, these animals also have religious significance.

Da Lat’s communal house-style church - 6

Inside the cathedral are a stone walkway and a structural ceiling with hundreds of beams and cross-beams.

Nhà thờ gỗ mang kiến trúc nhà rông ở Đà Lạt

The church's stage has an altar made of pinewood, which was dried for more than 15 years after being obtained from the nearby Lang Biang Mountain, and three buffalo heads are mounted at the bottom of the cross. Locals say the buffaloes were sacrificed to God to pray for a great harvest.

The stained windows were also designed with ethnic patterns, including triangles and squares. It is conceivable that the triangle symbolizes Yang, the term locals use to refer to God, the square represents the universe and everything revolves around the Earth.

Nhà thờ gỗ mang kiến trúc nhà rông ở Đà Lạt

There are nearly a dozen nuns looking after the church and taking care of over 60 children who are orphans or those entrusted to the church by their parents.

 
 
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