Located in the Old Quarter, St. Joseph’s Cathedral is one of the oldest churches in Hanoi. Built by the French in 1886, this neo-gothic church served as a cathedral for the Catholic Archdiocese of Hanoi, which, at the end of the 19th century, was home to nearly 4 million Catholics in Vietnam. Its architectural style is reminiscent of Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, specially its twin steeples. The Cathedral owes its name to St. Joseph, the father of Jesus, God of Christians.
Constructed of stone slabs and brick with concrete siding, the facade consists of 2 square-towers reaching a height of 31 m (103 ft). Each tower is equipped with 5 bells. The outer walls of the cathedral are made of granite slabs. Inside, the windows are equipped with high stained-glass windows that were made in France before being transported to Vietnam. The vaulted ceiling resembles those of medieval Europe. The nave is eroded and the sanctuary is brilliant. It is made of gilded wood and is decorated in a royal way. A statue of the Virgin Mary is kept in a palanquin according to local custom to the left of the nave.
Today, the Cathedral is the seat of the Archdiocese of Vietnam and controls more than 480 churches and chapels as well as 113 parishes and serves 400,000 Catholics.
At the end of the church street is a high-end market with shops and silks.