The Ancient Stone Church of Sapa on the mountainous city at the midnight looks like a symbol of Sapa town in particular and of the Northwest in general. This church is immersed itself in the breath of forests and mountains ofthe Northwest that any visitors who come to Sapa always want to take a photo.
1. The history of the Ancient Stone Church:
This Stone Church was built in 1895 by the French and it is also the most ancient architecture that the French left in Sa Pa, Lao Cai. This church is located in the middle of the town center, in front of a wide stadium.Moreover, it is located in a beautiful position with the back is Ham Rong Mountain. From this church, visitors can admire two other architectural works which were built built by the French: House of Bridge (now is Hoang Lien Hotel) and the former district committee (now is the headquarters of the Lao Cai Tourism Information Center).
2. Special architecture of Stone Church:
The old church has another name, the Holy Rosary of Mary church. According to some records, the church was built with the main face facing the east, the direction of the sunrise. Someone explains that it is the direction to receive the light of God.
The church was built from hewed stones, accroding to Roman Gothic architecture. The stone’s moldings are a mixture of sand, lime and molasses. The wall of the crucifix is designed to make the viewers feels as if the stalactites are flowing down. Previously, the roof was made of lime straw, now it is replaced with new tile. The total area of the church isover 6000m2.
In the bell tower, which is located at the end of the church, was built in the west means the birthplace of Christ. There is a big bell here which is 1.5m high 500kg weight. It was casted in 1932.
The total area includes the main church, the parish, the house of the monk, the field, the angel’house, the front yard and the Holy Garden. The parish is built in parallel with the church’s five compartments. Especially, in the angel’s house, there are a basement and three upper storey is a place to cure sick people, overnight travelers, sanitation facilities and kitchen. The garden contains two tombs and five hundred-year-old Khao Vang trees, four of which grow on rocks.
3. Popular activies in Stone Church of Sapa people:
For many years, Sapa Stone Church has always been a place which takes place many traditional cultural activities of the ethnic minority’s groups. Every day, ethnic groups gather here to trade and exchange goods in the big yard in front of the church. This is also the place where Saturday’s night every week, the couple gather to play in the love market, a tradtional custom of the ethinic group, very romantic and also be filled with the breath of the Northwest. Inside the church, every night there are a lot of prayers coming here to pray for peace or for bumper harvests.
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