The 100-year-old wooden church with unique architecture in Kon Tum
Nestled in the middle of the mountains and forests of the Central Highlands, the 100-year-old wooden church of Kon Tum is a proud symbol of this province. What is so special about this church that attracts a lot of domestic and foreign tourists?
Impressive architecture of Kon Tum wooden church
As a Catholic church, the Kon Tum wooden church is located at 13 Nguyen Hue Street, Thong Nhat Ward, Kon Tum City. The church is nestled in the middle of mountains and forests. It is a tourist destination attracting many tourists due to its impressive architecture.
Regarding the history of the church, it is said that in the 19th century, from Quang Ngai to Kon Tum, there was a 120km long road named "Salt, Ceramics and Gongs” as traders of salt, ceramics and gongs had to pass through this road. The French also followed this road to Kon Tum to preach and they intended to build a small church of bamboo and wood. The first church was built in 1870 on a small scale. Due to the increasing number of parishioners, priest Joseph Decrouille decided to build a larger church with the main material of redwood (Shorea roxburghii C. Don) - a typical wood of the Central Highlands. The construction lasted from 1913 to 1918. Despite ups and downs of history, this wooden church is still beautiful and in good condition without any damage.
The facade of Kon Tum wooden church. Photo: @nguyen.duy_95
The church was built by skillful carpenters from Binh Dinh and Quang Ngai. It is a combination of Roman architecture and the stilt house of the Ba Na people, which is considered an exquisite combination of Central Highlands with Western cultures. The works in the church include: the synagogue, the guest house, the hall displaying ethnic and religious products, and the communal house. There are also orphanages, sewing/brocade weaving workshops, and carpentry workshops.
The works in the church. Photo: beta.nhandan.com
The facade of the church is divided into 4 floors and 4 main pillars. Photo: beta.nhandan.com
In terms of materials, the wooden church is built of precious wood, while the walls are made from soil mixed with straw instead of concrete, reinforced concrete or lime mortar. This is a typical characteristic in the construction of stilt houses of the Ba Na people. The facade of the church is in Roman style with a height of 24m, divided into four floors with 4 main pillars and 2 supporting pillars connected together into arcs that raise the whole church. It is noted that, the higher it is, the smaller the size of the church is. In the middle of the church are four circular stained-glass windows with concentric curved wooden slats arranged appropriately, making them similar to eyes. On the top of the church, there is a tall wooden cross, showing the majesty of the cathedral.
The roof design of the church is in the style of a communal house of the Ba Na people. Photo: @anhhk01
The roof design of the church is in the style of a communal house of the Ba Na people. The roof covers main pillars outside the church, which helps to minimize direct exposure to the sun and rain of the Central Highlands.
Inside Kon Tum wooden church. Image source: @anh.lee91
Colourful glass windows in the church. Photo: beta.nhandan.com
Inside the church, there are many stained glass windows illustrating the stories in the Bible, creating the brilliance for the church. The wooden pillars and rafters in the church are not meticulously carved, but it is these simple patterns that show the idyllic temperament of the indigenous people of the Central Highlands. The construction of the church does not use mortise and tenon rather than nails.
The church is beautifully decorated for Christmas. Photo: @thronguyen
Coming here on Christmas, you can admire the splendidly decorated church and the bustling atmosphere with thousands of parishioners all over the region coming here to attend the ceremony and pray for luck. In addition to being a place for Catholic activities, Kon Tum wooden church is also a busy market for parishioners from all ethnic groups. Sometimes, they stay here for a week to attend mass and buy things in the market which is on the empty field to the right of the church. The products sold here are mainly handicrafts from the villages. On weekdays, the place is quite quiet.
Kon Tum wooden church is also the place for a market selling local products. Photo: beta.nhandan.com
If you visit the wooden church in January or February you will have the opportunity to immerse in the romantic pink and white colour of bean flowers on the way to the church.
Moving to Kon Tum wooden church
From Ho Chi Minh City to Kon Tum:
You can choose a coach with a travel time of about 11 hours and a fare of about VND 250,000 - 400,000/one-way ticket. This form of transport is very convenient as the coach can take you directly to Kon Tum wooden church thanks to the short distance from Kon Tum station to the destination (2km).
If you go by plane, it will take you about 1 hour to get to the Kon Tum airport - which is a relatively short travel time. The cost ranges from VND 900,000 - 1,500,000/one-way ticket. As the distance from Kon Tum airport to Kon Tum wooden church is quite long (about 250km), you will need to travel by coach from the airport.
As the distance from Kon Tum airport to Kon Tum wooden church is quite long (about 250km), you will need to travel by coach from the airport.
Kon Tum wooden church not only has a unique architecture, but it is also a symbol of regional religion and culture. You will be definitely impressed by the majestic church with a “lifespan” of more than one hundred years in the midst of the mountains and forests.