Hanh Thong Tay Church has its main gate facing one of the most crowdest and busiest streets of Go Vap District. Although the traffic seems to be heavy for most time of the day, the atmosphere inside the area of the church remains calm and peaceful. This church is a representative of Saigon’s Other Sides, the part with a great cultural identity that not everyone has the chance to experience.
Address: 53/7 Quang Trung, Ward 11, Go Vap District
Located at the intersection of Quang Trung and Le Van Tho, Hanh Thong Tay Church is 30 minutes away from District 1 - the central district of Ho Chi Minh City. The church and the night market with the same name, which sits on the opposite of the street, are together the iconic site of this district.
Hanh Thong Tay Church locates at a busy street
The main aisle is only opened from 4:45 AM to 11 AM Monday-Friday. Other church services which do not happen within that period would take place in the side aisle on the left of the main one.
Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation
Pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy
4 PM on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday
Pray Our Lady of the Sacred Heart
11:20 AM on the 13th of every month
All the land, construction fee, and equipment used in the church were donated by Denis Le Phat An, a son of Phillipe Huyen Sy - one of the wealthiest men in Saigon at the half end of the 19th century. Huyen Sy is said to be a descendant of Matthew Le Van Gam - a martyred saint, which might be the reason why he and his family willingly gave out their fortune to build several churches.
Huyen Sy is considered as the founder of Huyen Sy Church since he decided to fund a part of his large fortune to build this church. Following his father’s step, Le Phat Dat and his wife’s contribution is honored by the local Catholics with two delicate white marble tombs dedicated to them after their death.
Officially established in 1861, the church at first had only several families in the nearby village called Hanh Thong Tay asking to embrace. The number of Catholics has increased over time, and together with it is the expansion of the church.
Hanh Thong Tay Church has gone through some renovation, and the church you would visit nowadays was constructed from 1921-1924.
Following the Byzantine Architecture, Hanh Thong Tay Church stands out among other Vietnamese churches which were mostly built in Roman or Gothic style. It is said to be a simulation of the Basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna, Italy.
The church has a 40-meter long, 14-meter wide, and 19,5-meter high bell tower. The tower was built to be 30 meters high and pointed, but it was then cut down due to aerial reasons.
The bell tower of the church is now square-shaped
The church has many Byzantine characteristics in architecture
Across the wall of the church are the statues that display 15 stations of the cross
There are many trees in the area of the church to create a relaxing atmosphere
A statue of Jesus
A statue of Our Lady laying on the opposite side of the statue of Jesus
A relief of the Vietnamese Martyrs at the back of the main aisle
At the corner of the church is a statue of a Saint
The church includes the main aisle and a side aisle. The capacity of the main aisle, however, is less than the side one, but it is designed and decorated more elaborately with many Byzantine details.
The gate to the main aisle, with a statue of Saint-Denis
Inside the main aisle
The domed roof of the main aisle
The side aisle is a two-floor building
The stained glass door of the side aisle
In December - the Christmas month, Hanh Thong Tay Church is well-decorated with colorful lights and impressive, huge Christmas nativity set and Christmas tree. You can also buy many beautiful Christmas accessories in the area of the church, selling by the local Catholics.
Hanh Thong Tay Church is located in a district that is quite far away from the city center, but the address is easy to find and accessible. The unique Byzantine architecture makes it stand out among numerous churches in Vietnam. It is an ideal place to visit if you are looking for some interesting sites besides common tourist destinations.
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© Written by Mai Bui for itourvn.com