|Trung Lao Church before the fire.— Photo vietnamnet.vn|Viet Nam News
NAM ĐỊNH — The Trung Lao Church in Trung Đông Commune in the northern province of Nam Định was destroyed in a blaze on Saturday night.
Around 100 fire-fighters were dispatched to the scene and spent more than three hours bringing the fire under control. However, they were unable to save the 129-year-old building. An electrical short circuit and strong winds were blamed for causing the fire.
Trung Lao Church, built in 1888, is a unique combination of Spanish Gothic architecture and Vietnamese tradition artisan crafts, reflected through sophisticated carvings.
It took eight years to lay the foundations and carve patterns in the church. The building was 50 metres long and 16 metres wide, roofed with “dragon’s scale” tiles.
The whole interior was made from precious wood by Vietnamese artisans.
The dome was decorated with statues of the Virgin Mary and various Saints on a magnificent altar, which included intricate detailing.
“A century has passed but the Trung Lao Church has never needed repair,” said Nguyễn Văn Bình, a local Christian.
The inferno destroyed almost all of the wooden carvings. Thousands of people gathered at the scene, and most looked devastated at the loss. — VNS