• Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon, the history of a beautiful church
  • Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon, the history of a beautiful church

  • on Dec 12, 2019       By: BN
  • Part of the fabulous heritage of the city’s colonial era, the Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon is undergoing its 3rd restoration. Since its presence of nearly a century and a half, she continues to remind us of a reference to the "Little Paris of the Far East". Let’s relive the history of one of the most famous churches of Ho Chi Minh City and the country.

    notre dame cathedral saigon the beginning

    The wooden church, one of two buildings that was formerly the Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon

    With the greater presence of the French in Saigon, Catholics needed a place to practice their beliefs. In this context, Bishop Lefebvre had announced, on March 28, 1863, the construction of a wooden church which was completed two years later. It was initially named "Saigon Church at Kinh Lon" or Charner Canal, the current location of the Sun Wah building in Nguyen Hue Street. It should be noted that the church was established on the basis of a pagoda in the No.5 Street or the current Ngo Duc Ke Street. It was a tiny Vietnamese pagoda abandoned because of the wars.

    notre dame cathedral saigon building

    Notre Dame Cathedral located along the Charner Canal until 1880

    Faced with its degradation, Guy Victor August Duperré, the governor of the South had launched a competition of architecture to give a new face to the Church of Saigon. The new building owed its plans to Jules Bourard, the winner, who was inspired by the Notre Dame Cathedral of Paris.

    notre dame cathedral saigon location right now

    Current Notre Dame Cathedral location

    It was on October 7, 1877 that Monsignor Isidore Colombert laid the foundations for the construction of the cathedral.

    notre dame cathedral saigon inauguration

    The Notre Dame Cathedral in 1880 before its inauguration

    A solemn inauguration was celebrated at Easter in 1880. Before being renamed Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon, the building was called "State Church" for its 2,500,000 francs financed by France.

    Notre dame cathedral saigon on the newspaper

    The construction of bell towers in 1895 on the press

    In 1895, it was added two bell towers, each 57.6 m high, housing six bells. At the top stands a cross measuring 3.50 m high, 2m wide and weighing 600 kg.

    Notre dame cathedral saigon  hotel

    The Notre-Dame de Saigon Cathedral in 1900, before welcoming the statue of Mgr. Pigneau de Béhaine

    In 1903, the French had the statue of Monsignor Pigneau de Béhaine, accompanied by Prince Nguyen Phuc Canh, elder of Emperor Gia Long. It was destroyed in 1945 under the rule of Tran Trong Kim's government.

    Notre dame cathedral saigon statue mgr pigneau

    Statue of Monsignor Pigneau de Béhaine and Nguyen Phuc Canh

    In 1958, Monsignor Giuse Pham Van Thien had the statue of the Virgin Mary carved out of granite in Rome. Cardinal Aganiavian came to Saigon to inaugurate it on February 17, 1959.

    The presence of the statue of the Virgin Mary since 1959

    In 1960, the cathedral was granted the status of Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of The Immaculate Conception by the Pope, in parallel with two others in Hanoi and Hue.

    Notre dame cathedral saigon 1965

    The Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon in 1965

    Notre dame cathedral saigon preservation

    The work started since July 2017

    Illustrations of the Cathedral of Our Lady of Saigon over time

    Notre dame cathedral saigon 20s

    The Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon during the 20s

    Notre dame cathedral saigon 30s

    ...the 30s

    Notre dame cathedral saigon 40s

    ...the 40s

    Notre dame cathedral saigon 70s

    ...the 70s

    Notre dame cathedral saigon 90s

    ...the 90s

    Notre dame cathedral saigon 2010

    and in 2010

    Since the national reunification in 1975, one cans still feel behind its orange-pink facade, the soul of a cultural and nostalgic Saigon, despite so many metamorphoses witnessed in its surroundings. Visitors and locals alike look forward to the reopening of a strong symbol of the country, scheduled for late 2019.

         Related articles:

    >> Ao dai Museum in Ho Chi Minh City, shrine of the Vietnamese dress

    >> Saigon Central Post Office, the old face of Ho Chi Minh City

    >> Ba Thien Hau Temple - the oldest temple in Saigon


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