Da Lat was known and gradually developed into a place for relaxation since French Doctor Alexandre Yersin who led a group of peope including Father Robert, a missionary for the Indochina, discovered the land of Lang Biang in 1893.
In 1917, Father Nicolas Couvreur, a missionary for the Far-east, arrived in Da Lat and built a presbyteral sanatorium, that presently stands in the compound of the Mary of God Cathedral. In 1918, Bishop Lucien Mossard, apostolic administrator of Sai Gon diocese, arrived in Da Lat and started to evangelize local people.
The diocese was established on Nov. 24, 1960 by Pope John XXIII. Bishop Simon Hoa Nguyen Van Hien was the first bishop of the diocese.
During the 1955-1973, the Catholic College, Pius X Pontifical Institute and Minh Hoa Seminary were founded. Many Religious congregations for men and for women and evangelization centers for ethnic minorities were also established. Many of them were confiscated by the government after the country's reunification in 1975.
As of Dec. 31, 2007, the diocese had 313,086 baptized Catholics out of a population of 1,190,057, including 91,250 ethnic-minority people. The diocese is a suffragan of the Ho Chi Minh City Archdiocese.
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Da Lat city is well-known as a dreamy and romantic place with its coldness in evening, fog at dawn and surrounding ranges of pine forests. The city producing many kinds of flowers draws many tourists each year. Besides many beautiful landscapes such as Buddhist pagodas, waterfalls, lakes. Da Lat is also famous for its Catholic churches such as the Cathedral (built from 1931-1942), the French architectural church of Domain de Marie, the Vietnamese traditional architectural church of Du Sinh, Cam Ly church (built from 1960-1968) with traditional architecture of ethnic minority groups.
Diocesan website: www.simonhoadalat.com
Being in a plateau and surrounded by pine forests, the climate of Da Lat is like that of a temperate zone with the average temperature of 18-21 degrees Celsius, never over 32° C and below 5° C.
Da Lat has two distinguishable seasons: the rainy from May to October and the dry from November to April with the average rainfall of 1,562 millimeters per year and humidity of 82%. Especially, Da Lat has never been hit by a storm. There are only strong winds from the sea resulting from storms in other regions.
Recently, the temperature of Da Lat has increased considerably due to urbanization and illegal forest exploitation.
The diocese with a land area of 9,764.79 square kilometers comprises the whole province of Lam Dong at an elevation of 1,500 meters in the highlands. Da Lat is its capital and well-known tourist city.