Coming to Sapa, tourists are attracted not only by the clear beauty of the mountains, hills and waterfalls, but also by the attractive ancient architecture of the stone church. This is really an interesting destination that you should not ignore when reaching to Sapa.
To help you understand more clearly about this destination, I would like to make an overall view of the history of this church and Sapa Parish. Since Sapa Parish was established in 1902, there had been always the priests living in this church to serve the parishioners here. However, in 1948 when the last French parish priest named Ydiart Alhor Jean was killed, the war occurred that led the church to a situation that no one managed and kept the religious activities of this church. For a long time after, the church was repaired and run again. Now, the grave of the last French parish priest is still maintained and looked after near this old cathedral.
In terms of name, this ancient church is called as the Stone Church or Church of Our Lady of the Rosary. Located in the town center, Sapa Stone Church was built in the 1895s based on the shape of crucifix according to Gothic Roman architecture. The location of the church is also thoroughly considered by the architects. The church is situated in the central position; the backside of the church relies on Ham Rong Mountain and its front side overlooks the lowland. It’s said that the direction of the church is the east, the direction of the sunrise. According to the old conception, it’s regarded as the light direction of the God that brings the good things to the humans.
The church includes the areas such as the church area, Parish House, angel church, Sacred Gardens, House of the priest, etc. With the area of more than 6.000 m2, the church area consists of 7 compartments of more than 500 m2, the bell-tower of 20 m high. Especially, there is a bell with the height 1.5 m and the weight of 500 kg in the bell-tower. In spite of being casted in 1932, until now it has been undamaged even the words carved on the surface of the bell and the wooden bracket.
Passing by many ups and downs of the history, this monument still maintains the graces and the nostalgic beauty of the religious architecture. The Church was made from the shaped stones in combination with a mixture of sand, lime and molasses even from the smallest details; that makes the church becomes more special. The wall features the proper roughness increasing the natural beauty of the church.
Nowadays, Sapa Stone Church is not only a religious destination of most of parishioners here as well as domestic and foreign tourists, but also a main site for holding many cultural traditional activities of the ethnic people here. In every Saturday evening, people usually organize a popular unique cultural activity often called “the love market”. In the quiet atmosphere of the evening in the highland, the sounds of the traditional instruments of the ethnic people such as flute, trumpet, lip lute, pan flute mix with the featured dances of the ethnic girls and guys. Especially, at Christmas, most parishioners also gather here to celebrate, pray, sing and dance. In addition, they also celebrate many interesting games and activities featuring the culture of the ethnic minority people.
If you get a chance to visit Sapa, don’t forget to look in the Stone Church, a spiritual, religious and cultural destination of Sapa Town in particular and of the northwest in general. The ancient beauty combined with the misty scenery of Sapa Town will pull back your footstep and bring you an indescribable feeling when leaving here. Don’t forget to join Sapa tours with us if you are willing to experience this!!