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La Vang Church is also called La Vang Holy Land, a famous tourist attraction on the way from Hoi An to Phong Nha in Quang Tri province. La Vang is an important pilgrimage site, not only for Catholics but also for non-religious and international tourists.
Location of La Vang Holy Land
The La Vang Holy Land is located in an area called Dinh Cat under the reign of Lord Nguyen Hoang in the 16th century. Nowadays, it belongs to the Hai Phu commune, Hai Lang district, Quang Tri province. This place is about 6km south of Quang Tri Ancient City and 60km north of Hue city. La Vang Church is the national Holy Mother center of the Vietnamese Catholic Council.
How to get there?
Lang Vang Church is about 60km from Hue city center; 160km from Da Nang and 200km from Hoi An Ancient Town. So it is a famous and one of the must-see attractions on the way to Phong Nha or Dong Hoi city.
To get to Phong Nha or Dong Hoi from these cities, if you love adventurous trips, you can rent a scooter with helmets. If not, the best way is to book a private car transfer with an English-speaking driver. Along the way from Hue to Phong Nha, Da Nang to DMZ; Hoi An to Dong Hoi, you always can stop to visit La Vang Holy Land; Vinh Moc Tunnels, Hien Luong Bridge, Ben Hai River.
Moreover, you can choose the bus transfers, Hue to Da Nang to Phong Nha/ Dong Hoi by train but you can not have a chance to admire these beautiful attractions.
Origin of the name “La Vang”
The first one is during the war, the jungles, forests were a great place to hide. But it was also a place with a lot of dangers. It was hard to see and to contact each other in the forest with a lot of leaves so the best way to alert the dangers is to shout up. In Vietnamese the echo in the forest called “La Vang”.
The second one is the name Lavang was believed to be originated in the name of the deep forest in Quang Tri; where there was an abundance of a kind of tree leaves named La Vang.
The first apparition of the Lady of Lavang was noted in 1798 when the persecution of Vietnamese Catholics began. A lot of Catholics from the nearby town of Quang Tri sought refuge in the deep forest of Lavang.
Many of these people suffered from the bitterly cold weather; lurking wild beasts, jungle sickness, and starvation. Our Blessed Mother comforted them and told them to boil the leaves from the Lang Vang trees to use as medicine. She also told them that from that day on; all those who came to this place to pray would get their prayers heard and answered.
What to see at La Vang Church?
La Vang Holy Land, also known as “Basilica of Our Lady of La Vang”, has undergone many events in history and time. Until today, La Vang Church seems to shine all its ancient beauty under a corner of Hai Lang – Quang Tri. The architecture of the church here follows the traditional architecture of the Catholic church.
In the heart of the Holy Land, today remains the belltower of the Basilica of Our Lady of La Vang. This construction was built from 1924 – 1929, got a great renovation in 1959. In the summer of 1972, the Basilica was destroyed due to war.
In the supposed location where Our Lady appeared near the old banyan tree; a monumental monument was built with the image of three banyan trees and Our Lady of La Vang in the center. And the Statue of Our Lady of La Vang is also placed in many places in the Sanctuary. Our Lady is often shown with the image of a gentlewoman holding a baby in Ao Dai, the traditional Vietnamese costumes.
In front of the bell tower relic of the Basilica of Our Lady of La Vang is a large square. The two sides of the square is the “Way of the Cross” – a series of 14 sculptures depicting the progression of Jesus’ passion; from his condemnation to his crucifixion and finally his burial.
In addition, on the grounds of the La Vang Church, there is also a well of Our Lady of La Vang; where every believer comes here to take a sip of water to pay homage to Our Lady. Many believers believe that well water has the ability to cure diseases in the body.
La Vang pilgrimage festival
The La Vang pilgrimage festival takes place every 3 years at La Vang Holy Land. According to the festival history, the first pilgrimage festival of Our Lady of Lavang was held in 1901. Regarding the date of the festival, there are different but also taken place in August.