Centenary wooden church in Kon Tum

Kon Tum Cathedral, also known as the wooden church, was designed and initiated by a French priest, built in 1913, completed in 1918 and exists today. In the period 1994 – 1996, the building was renovated to add 2 corridors on both sides of the porch. In 2013, on the occasion of its 100th anniversary, the church was slightly repainted on the outside.

The most unique feature of this church is its impressively designed architecture with a harmonious combination of European Roman architecture and wooden stilt houses of the Ba Na people in Kon Tum. It is this special interaction that creates a unique and unique beauty that cannot be duplicated anywhere else.

Talking about the architecture of the Ba Na people, it is impossible not to mention the Kon Tum diocese, which is the most special in the Central Highlands because its parishioners are all ethnic people. There are nearly 12,000 parishioners here, living in 10 villages, mainly Ba Na people. Most people work in the fields and upland fields.

Centenary wooden church in Kon Tum
The church entrance hallway and roof follow the design of the communal roofs of the Ba Na people.

Besides the architecture, the construction materials of Kon Tum wooden church are also very special. Not made of reinforced concrete, bricks, stone or ordinary wood, the church is made from red oak wood, a typical type of wood in the Central Highlands. Through the skillful and ingenious hands of artisans from Quang Nam, Quang Ngai, Binh Dinh… the items of this project are connected together by tenons and do not use any nails. The wooden church in Kon Tum is considered the only remaining Basilica-style architectural masterpiece in the world.

Visiting the wooden church, many architects affirmed the sustainability of the architecture and admired the talent of the artisans in constructing this project. In particular, the mutually respectful blend of two distinct architectural cultures creates a highly aesthetic project.

With an area of ​​700 m2, the layout of the church is very harmonious with items such as synagogue, exhibition house, reception house, communal house, carpentry facility, sewing facility, brocade weaving facility, and orphanage. The church’s garden area has a statue of the Virgin Mary holding the Baby Jesus with both hands, made from a pristine wooden trunk, carved in the rustic style of the Central Highlands ethnic groups. In addition, crosses and decorative statues outside and inside the church, such as sheep and saint statues made from forest roots, make the space imbued with the colors of the Central Highlands.

Centenary wooden church in Kon Tum
Native patterns are decorated inside the church.

The main side of Kon Tum wooden church is divided into 4 floors with a height of 24 meters, the higher it is, the sharper it is. The second floor of the church has circular glass windows creating a very eye-catching appearance. At the top is a wooden cross, which is a typical symbol of churches.

In addition to the decoration style like other Catholic churches, here are also decorated with objects made by ethnic minorities such as strings, hanging hearts… with many bright colors. The curtains and tablecloths are brocade fabrics woven by ethnic people. It can be said that this is a breakthrough point in the church’s architecture. To create a scene suitable for the cultural life of ethnic minorities, next to the church, a communal house and a large tree were also built for people to come here to live on major religious holidays. God.

Behind the church is a row of houses to nurture orphaned children of ethnic minorities, established by nuns in the church. The church’s sanctuary is decorated with patterns of ethnic minorities in the Central Highlands, creating a solemn and mysterious impression, but also very familiar. The cathedral also has many stained glass windows, painted with biblical stories. These windows both let in light and add magnificence to the cathedral.

Inside the cathedral, visitors will admire a large and airy space with high arches and rows of columns connected together by arcs. On the wooden pillars are unique symbols and motifs imbued with the indigenous culture of ethnic minorities in Kon Tum and the sunny and windy Central Highlands.

The wooden church is a symbolic project of Kon Tum province, a pride not only for the Catholic people here. Visiting Kon Tum wooden church every season, people will feel the beauty of this architectural work in a different nuance. If you come during the dry season, the church has a strong, quiet and romantic appearance with the trees changing leaves, and if you visit during the Christmas season, you will be immersed in a cheerful, radiant and cheerful atmosphere. Especially admiring the splendid, colorful appearance of the church.