Many people compare Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral в Ho Chi Minh city with Paris Cathedral Notre Dame de Paris. Due to this comparison, the temple is often called Cathedral of Notre Dame de Saigon. Today it is the main center of the Christian religion, as well as a very popular place among tourists. At the time of visiting the cathedral, December 2019, the temple was under reconstruction. Therefore, most of the photos do not show the scope of the structure.

Some time ago Vietnam was an important part of the French possession or influence in the Asian region. Agree that a rather unusual picture appears before a tourist - a Parisian cathedral surrounded by scooters and humidity in the air.

To better understand why Cathedral in Saigon so similar to Notre Dame de Paris, you need to tell its brief history of creation.

The history of the construction of Notre Dame Cathedral in Ho Chi Minh City

As soon as the French colonists settled in Asia, European priests began to lead services in the southern places. The first Catholic temple in Saigon was an abandoned Buddhist temple. Some time later, in 1865, a new church was built especially for Christians.

However, due to the fragile and short-lived material (namely, wood), the church was attacked by insects. Then the Vietnamese authorities decided to build a more durable cathedral, but from stone. The work took approximately three to four years. The very first stone was laid in 1877. The fact that building materials were brought straight from France is very important.

early 1900 period, photo from saigoneer.com

The very same history of the cathedral in Saigon originates in 1876. Then the governor Marie Jules Dupre announced a competition for the creation of the best Catholic cathedral. Such a plan was very selfish on the part of France, because such a cathedral was supposed to become a symbol of the strength of Western Europe and its continuation. 

The temple was supposedly created in order to put in the shade all the Pagodas built in Vietnam and its environs.

The famous architect Jules Bourard won with his project of a Catholic cathedral, which was the embodiment of neo-Norman style with Gothic elements.

The architect took part in the construction - he actively followed the construction process.
It is worth noting that the cathedral became the tallest building in all of Saigon at that time.

See below for some tips for visiting Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral.

How to visit Notre Dame de Saigon Cathedral?

The undoubted convenience for tourists is that the cathedral is located in the center Ho Chi Minh City. Therefore, people do not even need public transport to get to this attraction (except if you are staying far from the center). Cathedral in Saigon is included in everything main city tours.

For a better orientation, it is useful to know the stops that are nearby. For example, stop Diamond Plaza. It is exactly perpendicular to the center of the same name. This is the eighteenth route. The symbolic name of the stop is "Sobor". It is logical to assume that it is located next to the cathedral itself. It can be reached by the following buses: 30, 49 and 36.

How does Notre Dame Saigon Cathedral in Ho Chi Minh City work?

Normal opening hours: 06:00 – 20:00. Opening hours may vary on holidays, or due to technical work on the restoration of the cathedral. However, the schedule can change, so before you go, it is better to find out in advance what time the visit is allowed. Entrance to the service is free.

My advice is to arrive as early as possible if you want to look inside the cathedral. The place is extremely visited, there are many tourists. If possible, visit the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Saigon also in the evening, it looks very different.

Why is this cathedral of such interest?

• right in front of the cathedral is a four-meter figure of the Virgin Mary. It is a symbol of the spread of the Christian religion. In addition, at the feet of the saint lies a box in which visitors put prayers or requests written on paper;

• 6 bells controlled remotely. Each of the bells sounds according to a specific note. Only two bells sound on weekdays, and three on weekends. But during the holidays you can hear the sound of all six bells. Their sound is heard at a very great distance;

• during the service, visitors can hear the choir, as well as the organ;

• Another specific element is that there are no candles in the temple. That is, the cathedral is completely electrically powered.

So, that's all the brief information about the beautiful Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral. It is also important to note that Vietnam can be visited in winter. Read also: Mekong Delta review and tour.

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