Arts & Entertainment

Century-old cathedral in Vietnam to be demolished

By Eric San Juan

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Jul 23 (efe-epa).- Vietnam’s Bui Chu Cathedral, an architectural jewel built 135 years ago, has been condemned to demolition.

The church, which was built by order of a Spanish bishop in northern Vietnam, will be replaced by a modern replica.

Demolition work began on Sunday with the dismantling of the roof and the interior, where rubble already covers the tiles of the brick building which is a unique combination of Spanish baroque and Asian elements.

Martín Rama, an Uruguayan economist at the World Bank who lives in Hanoi, has become one of the main voices for the preservation of Bui Chu and Vietnam’s cultural heritage.

“It will be a great loss, it is the only baroque church in Vietnam, it looks like a Mexican church. When those towers fall there will be a lot of emotion,” he says.

Nguyen Hanh Nguyen, a professor at the Ho Chi Minh University of Architecture, signed a petition to the Hanoi government together with 24 other architects to stop the demolition.

Nguyen says the church, built in 1885 by order of the Spanish bishop Wenceslao Oñate Pham, has a unique character.

“It contains many valuable architectural details and special interior,” the professor adds.

“Some small churches may have Hispanic details in Vietnam but no large church has similar characteristics. It is a unique piece.”

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