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A look at strange objects at Vietnam diocese

Monday, February 25, 2019, 09:09 GMT+7
A look at strange objects at Vietnam diocese
The church at the Bui Chu Diocese in Nam Dinh Province, northern Vietnam. Photo: Thai Loc / Tuoi Tre

A diocese in northern Vietnam is well known for its unusual objects and impressive century-old church at its seat.

A ‘female bell’ is one of such artificial creations that can be found at the Ave Maria Garden of the Bui Chu Diocese in Nam Dinh Province, around 90 kilometers to the southeast of the Vietnamese capital Hanoi.

In the form of a woman, the bell gives a sound quite different from that of standard ones, especially when the breast-like swells are stricken.

A man takes pictures of the ‘female bell’ at the Bui Chu Diocese in Nam Dinh Province, northern Vietnam. Photo: Thai Loc / Tuoi Tre
A man takes pictures of the ‘female bell’ at the Bui Chu Diocese in Nam Dinh Province, northern Vietnam. Photo: Thai Loc / Tuoi Tre

It has the serene face of a curly-hair woman donning a Western-style hat and near the lower edge of what is part of her skirt are the patterns of Vietnamese dragons and Chinese characters that translate as ‘woman bell.’

“What a wonderful and intriguing combination!” an architect said of the bell, over two meters tall and nearly one tonne in weight, after watching it for a while.

Another notable object is a 5.2-meter-long giant trumpet touted as the largest in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.

It requires a deep strong breath to blow it and the sound is quite loud.

A man blows a giant trumpet at the Bui Chu Diocese in Nam Dinh Province, northern Vietnam. Photo: Thai Loc / Tuoi Tre
A man blows a giant trumpet at the Bui Chu Diocese in Nam Dinh Province, northern Vietnam. Photo: Thai Loc / Tuoi Tre
A man hits a gong at the Bui Chu Diocese in Nam Dinh Province, northern Vietnam. Photo: Thai Loc / Tuoi Tre
A man hits a gong at the Bui Chu Diocese in Nam Dinh Province, northern Vietnam. Photo: Thai Loc / Tuoi Tre

A short distance away are the statue of a woman playing a harp, a 300-kilogram gong around 1.5 meters in diameter, and outsize wind chimes.

The Ave Maria Garden also has a set of 25-kilogram marble balls connected to each other by chain links at an angle.

The statue of a woman playing a harp at the Bui Chu Diocese in Nam Dinh Province, northern Vietnam. Photo: Thai Loc / Tuoi Tre
The statue of a woman playing a harp at the Bui Chu Diocese in Nam Dinh Province, northern Vietnam. Photo: Thai Loc / Tuoi Tre
The chain of marble balls at the Bui Chu Diocese in Nam Dinh Province, northern Vietnam. Photo: Thai Loc / Tuoi Tre
The chain of marble balls at the Bui Chu Diocese in Nam Dinh Province, northern Vietnam. Photo: Thai Loc / Tuoi Tre

A structure worth visiting at the Bui Chu Diocese is the church with a terracotta roof and two imposing 35-meter-tall bell towers.

As its main entrance is engraved with 1885, the year when its construction was completed, the church is the oldest across Nam Dinh Province.

Experts say the building has a typical baroque style of architecture, and the interior illustrates this decorative extravagance more clearly.

People sit inside the church at the Bui Chu Diocese in Nam Dinh Province, northern Vietnam. Photo: Thai Loc / Tuoi Tre
People sit inside the church at the Bui Chu Diocese in Nam Dinh Province, northern Vietnam. Photo: Thai Loc / Tuoi Tre
The church at the Bui Chu Diocese in Nam Dinh Province, northern Vietnam. Photo: Thai Loc / Tuoi Tre
The church at the Bui Chu Diocese in Nam Dinh Province, northern Vietnam. Photo: Thai Loc / Tuoi Tre

The pillars, altar and pews are made of valuable wood resistant to woodboring beetles and termites.

The church has a working clock mounted around ten meters above ground inside the tower at the rear.

It is said that the clock, with the inscription of F. Farnier-Robecourt on the face, was created by French people expressively for the church in 1922.

To make it work, one needs to move its three 50-kilogram weights to the top of the tower so that it can gain enough energy to chime for a week.

The clock operates with two bells, the larger of which, 70 centimeters in diameter, gives the number of Do-note strokes equal to the corresponding hour while the other rings every 15 minutes with a Re note.  

Locals said the clock has worked very well for nearly 100 years.

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