Right before Christmas, Assumption Cathedral will return to its full glory, following 18 months of renovation. Built by French missionaries, the current structure replaced Bangkok’s first cathedral, deemed too small. It is today the largest Catholic institution in the city, and also the head of Bangkok Diocese, where deacons, priests, and bishops are ordained. After more than hundred years, it is still considered the centre of Catholic life in Thailand.
The construction of the original building lasted nine years, from 1909 to 1918. The result was a curious mix of classical and neo-roman styles, visibly inspired by late-19th century cathedrals in France.
The restoration of the cathedral started in mid-2014. Stones on the outside and inside were cleaned up, revealing the graceful details of the sculptures and bas reliefs as well as the pale pink colour of the bricks used to construct the external walls. Inside, chandeliers, stain glass windows, Corinthian columns crowned in gold, painted frescoes, and marble floors look as new as they probably did way back in 1918.
The ceiling, decorated with a constellation of golden stars against a dark blue background; the vibrant colours of the restored stained glass windows, all manufactured in France; the glittering of the bronze-made chandeliers; and the shiny polished look of the marble floors, imported from Italy, add to Assumption Cathedral’s magnificence. A true spiritual journey just in time for Christmas.
To visit Assumption Cathedral:
Take the BTS to Saphan Thaksin and then follow Charoen Krung Road in the direction of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. The cathedral entrance is located opposite the hotel. Masses are celebrated daily at 6am and 5pm. On Sunday, morning mass is celebrated at 7am and 8.30am.