Although a huge percentage of the people in Nha Trang follow Buddhism, there’s still a strong population of Catholics in the area. Situated in 31A Thai Nguyen Street in Nha Trang, the Nha Trang Cathedral is a religious facility that provides a worshipping place for the Christian population in the city. The church is highly influenced by French Catholicism. It stands at the west part of the city centre and can easily be reached via local transports. The church is famous for its impressive structure, proven by the noticeable French gothic-inspired architecture. Through the years, it attracted visitors with its intricate structural design and tranquil surroundings.
Founded in 1928, it took five years to build the church, complete with colorful stained-glass windows. The construction was led by a French priest named Louis Vallet. The Nha Trang Cathedral stands over a small hill that overlooks the train station. It is a very elegant building despite being constructed from simple cement blocks. The building is quaint, easy to notice and free. A few Vietnamese touches include the pink backlight on the tabernacle, red neon outline on the crucifix, blue neon on the arch and white neon halo on top of St. Mary’s statue. In 1988, a Catholic cemetery close to the church was exhumed due to the construction of a new railway building. The remains were taken to the church to be reburied. Located at the back wall of the cathedral, the graves containing cremation ashes were placed in cavities with gravestones lined in slopes of the hill.
After the construction of the cathedral, three large church bells were given to them from the Bourdons Carillons Company in 1934 as well as the big clock that was put together on the top of the tower in December 1935. This is one of the main attractions of the building today: seeing the tall, square tower with the clock surmounted by a huge crucifix. Surprisingly, the building, which is almost 80 years old, is still intact and attracts multitudes of visitors. A number of statues stand within the grounds of the Catholic Church.
The Nha Trang Cathedral sits at the corner of Thai Nguyen Street and Nguyen Trai Street. You can also take a motorbike taxi and tell the driver to take you to ‘Nho Tho Nui’, which translates ‘Mountain Church’ in Vietnamese. Church mass takes place from Monday to Saturday, 5 am and 4:30 pm, and during Sundays, the mass starts at 5am to 7am and on 4:30 pm.
Today, there are triangle-religious tours (Hinduism, Catholicism and Buddhism) offered for tourists who wanted an organized day trip to the three important religious places in Nha Trang as well as the lost Cham civilization, which is believed to be the mother of Hinduism. The day tour will start with a visit in Po Nagar Tower, an important Hindu temple dating back to 7th Century. This is followed by the elegant church of Nha Trang Cathedral and the last site is the Long Son Pagoda, which is a sacred Buddhist temple.