Da Lat’s old French monastery now a biological museum

By Quynh Tran   April 3, 2019 | 05:16 pm GMT+7

A charming stone building in a pine forest is now a research institute and also location for wedding photo shoots.

Da Lat’s old French monastery now a biological museum 

The Tay Nguyen Biological Institute was originally Vietnam’s Redemptorist monastery but has been used for research after 1975. It is situated on Tung Lam hill, seven kilometers from the resort town of Da Lat, in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong.

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The building is located in the middle of a pine forest. The monastery was built in 1952 in European religious architectural style.

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At the time, the monastery was the second stone building in Vietnam after Phat Diem Church in Ninh Binh Province, 120 km south of Hanoi.

Inside, at the center, stands a cross with the Latin inscription "Copiosa Apud Eum Redemptio," usually translated as "With Him is plentiful Redemption."

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The institute consists of five floors and 120 rooms. The second floor serves as a biology museum. The museum has seven display rooms and six archive rooms. Each room is divided into areas for displays of stuffed mammals, birds, reptiles, plants, and so on.

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The museum's outstanding collection includes 58 species of animals, including 38 rare species included in Vietnam’s Red Book.

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The museum also has samples of 95 bird species and more than 30 amphibians and reptiles, many characteristic of the Central Highlands.

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There are also 245 large mushrooms varieties that grow in the pine forests of Lam Dong Province.

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Some species are extinct, but their complete skeletons, intact, are on display.

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A greater adjutant, a species listed in Vietnam’s Red List of animals, spreads its wings.

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The traditional charm of the museum, with its mossy staircases and stone walls, makes it an ideal backdrop for wedding photo shoots. Every day dozens of couples preen for the camera around the museum, as do tourists.

Thien Chanh, a photographer, explained: "This place is large and quiet, the architecture is like that of an old European castle, very suitable for wedding photography. There is no fee for shooting, only the VND15,000 (65 cents) entrance fee."

 
 
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