The Stone Church in Tam Dao

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Tam Dao is a famous tourist town located approximately 80km from Hanoi, at an altitude of 900m above sea level. It has three mountain peaks rising amidst a vast expanse of clouds, including Thien Thi, Thach Bang, and Phu Nghia. This is why the town was named Tam Dao.

The Stone Church

The Tam Dao Stone Church is located on a high mountain slope along the road leading to the peak of Thien Nhi Mountain, in the center of Tam Dao town, Vinh Phuc province. Therefore, no matter where tourists stand in Tam Dao town, they can all admire the panoramic view of the church.


Since the early 20th century, when a wide basin-shaped valley was discovered on the Tam Dao mountain range with a cool plateau climate all year round, the French built this area as a resort for French officials in Vietnam. Until today, French architecture remains the most noticeable characteristic in Tam Dao town, with its stone church being a typical tourist symbol in this town.

The Stone Church in Tam Dao

The church was built in 1906, initially just a thatched house, and it wasn’t until 1937 that it was rebuilt with stone in the Gothic architectural style. This is one of the four famous stone churches in Vietnam, along with Phat Diem Stone Church (Ninh Binh), Sa Pa Stone Church (Lao Cai), and Nha Trang Stone Church (Khanh Hoa).

Father Gioan Nguyen Kim Thanh – the parish priest of Tam Dao, said “The surplus priests working in the Bac Ninh diocese are Dominican priests from Spain.”


The stone church is a Gothic architectural structure built during the French colonial period, with vaulted ceilings, moss-covered stones, towering bell towers, and colorful stained glass windows. Over time, it has witnessed the changing of the town day by day. The stone church serves as an important spiritual tourism destination in the cultural and religious life of the local people.

After many years, and with the destruction of time, many buildings built by the French no longer exist. But the stone church still wears a mossy ancient coat, standing proudly amidst the Tam Dao mountains.

The Stone Church in Tam Dao

The Stone Church in Tam Dao

The church is built in 2 floors, with the first floor raised about 10 meters above ground level, with a pathway next to the road and wide stairs leading up to the second floor.

On the second floor, outside space of the church is a spacious courtyard, surrounded by large stone windows. This serves as both a decorative fence and a railing for sightseeing. A wonderful place for tourists to admire panoramic views of the valley.

Built in the French architectural style on a high piece of land, the church has an area of 286m2 surrounded by a spacious courtyard. The church is of a moderate size, suitable for the humble scale of the town.

The Stone Church in Tam Dao

Inside the stone church in Tam Dao

Stepping into the church, one is enveloped by its ancient beauty and serene atmosphere. The focal point that attracts everyone’s gaze upon entering is the simple altar. In the warm wooden vaulted nave, surrounding the church are stained glass windows with decorative paintings depicting stories related to Jesus’ birth and events in his life.

The Stone Church in Tam Dao

Inside the cathedral, the arrangement was quite simple. There were no columns in the middle as usual, and on both sides of the walls, there were many arched windows decorated with stained glass paintings depicting stories related to the church and God.

Outside, right next to the cathedral door on the left side, there was a square bell tower that stood 18m tall and was also built with stone. The faces of the bell tower were adorned with red floral tiles, and in the middle, there was a crucifix.

Especially outside of the cathedral, there was a spacious courtyard surrounded by wide and airy rolling doors. From here, visitors could see an overview of Tam Dao town valley with its villas, hotels, guesthouses, bustling markets appearing faintly in misty fog along with green bamboo gardens stretching along hillsides.

The interior of this church has also been damaged and destroyed in many areas, not being properly maintained because it was previously used for other purposes such as a bar or badminton court. The church ceiling, which used to be made of teak wood, has also deteriorated but has now been restored to its original state.

In addition, all the chairs in the church were designed by the priest to be very elegant yet antique-like, combining arches with the architectural style of the church.


If you are a lover of architecture, you may be drawn to the moss-covered stone walls outside the church as well as the tall bell tower located beside it.

The Stone Church in Tam Dao

This is a unique characteristic of this stone church that easily allows visitors to recognize its location no matter where they stand in this town.

See more of our articles:

Travel guide: Tam Dao – An ideal destination in the North

Phat Diem Cathedral: What Does a Cornerstone Site of the 20th Century Tell Us?

A Full Guide to Ba Na Hills (The Golden Bridge is Here!)

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