The Notre-Dame Cathedral of Ho Chi Minh City!

I had this monument briefly mentioned and the pictures not the best were in other posts. I decided to update the text and use these older pictures into a new post. Memorable moments of my visits to Ho Chi Minh City (former Saigon). I like to tell you a bit more even if just passed by it was on my list to go inside eventually; the Notre Dame Cathedral of Ho Chi Minh City!

The Notre-Dame Cathedral sits in the center of Ho Chi Minh CityDistrict 1, not far from Saigon Post Office and Reunification Palace. It was built by the French from 1877 to 1880. It is located Place de la Commune-de-Paris (Công xã Paris), formerly Place Pigneau de Behaine which marks the beginning of Đồng Khởi Street.  

hcmc ND cathedral front passing mar16

A first church is built in the 5th street (currently Ngô Duc Ke). It was a pagoda abandoned by the Cochinchinese during the war of conquest , But it became too small, the governor of Cochinchina, Admiral Bonard, decided in 1863 to build a wooden church on the bank of the Charner canal (Kinh Lớn). Archbishop Lefèbvre laid the first stone on March 28, 1863 , and the construction was completed in 1865, when it was called the Church of Saigon.

In August 1876, the governor of Cochinchina Marie Jules Dupré organized a competition to determine the architecture of Notre-Dame Cathedral. The project by architect Jules Bourard was selected by the competition organizers from among the eighteen submitted proposals. The cathedral, according to Bourard’s plans, is in the Revised Romanesque style, mixed with the Gothic style and based on the model of Notre-Dame de Paris, but inferior in size. All building materials are imported from France. The outer wall of the cathedral is built with red bricks made and imported from Toulouse.  

On April 11, 1880, on the occasion of the celebration of Easter, the inaugural ceremony was celebrated in the presence of the Governor of Cochinchina, de Vilers. In 1895, two bell towers were added to the cathedral, each 58 meters high and housing six bronze bells, for a total weight of 28.85 tons. Crosses are installed at the top of each arrow, measuring 3.5 meters high, 2 meters wide, for 600 kilograms. The building then measures 60.5 meters. The 59 stained glass windows came from the Atelier Lorin in Chartres. Some were destroyed during the war and replaced with modern stained glass windows. The cathedral was electrified in October 1913.

In the flower garden in front of the Notre Dame Cathedral, there was a bronze statue erected in 1902. The statue was sculpted in France. The statue was unsealed in 1945, but retaining the foundations. In 1959, the bishop commissioned a statue of Our Lady carved in granite in Rome, the statue which was sealed on the foundations left free in 1945 and honored it with the title of Regina Pacis (Queen of Peace). In 1960, the Holy See erected the Apostolic Vicariates of Vietnam into archdioceses with archbishoprics in Hanoi (North Vietnam), Hue and Saigon (South Vietnam). The cathedral is elevated to the title of mother church of the Archdiocese of Saigon. In 1962, the Holy See conferred on the mother cathedral of Saigon the title of minor basilica. From then on, this cathedral was called the Basilica-Cathedral of Notre Dame ( Our Lady) of Saigon. It still call this way even if the city has change to Ho Chi Minh City.

hcmc ND cathedral apse back mar16

Full services in both Vietnamese and English are held every Sunday morning and are well attended by Vietnamese and foreigners alike. Other services are held throughout the week. Hence, visitors who wish to attend mass should go on Sunday at 9h30 (9:30 a.m.). I was there while doing renovations ,this has been done already, souvenir picture

hcmc cathedral back passing dec18

The private Vietnam travel guide on the ND Cathedral

The Vietnam tourist board on HCMC and the Cathedral

The official Ho Chi Minh City tourist office on the Cathedral:

There you go folks, a nice monument that should have been given more and worth the detour in the wonderful District 1 of Ho Chi Minh City. Do enjoy the Basilica Cathedral Notre Dame of Saigon! 

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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