Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon (Vietnamese: Vương cung thánh đường Chính tòa Đức Bà Sài Gòn or Nhà thờ Đức Bà Sài Gòn) is one of the unique architectural works in Ho Chi Minh, an attractive destination for both domestic and foreign tourists. This is one of the few remaining strongholds of Catholicism in Vietnam.

History of the cathedral

Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon was constructed between 1863 and 1880 by French colonists. 

The first wooden church was built in March 1863 and completed two years later. It was called “Saigon Church”. However, this church was damaged by termites later. The new construction began in 1877 and lasted for three years under the supervision of J. Bourad, who was the designer of this building. The inauguration mass and a blessing ceremony of the cathedral took place on April 11, 1880.
The name Notre-Dame Cathedral has been used since 1959 after a statue of Our Lady of Peace made with granite in Rome arrived and was installed here. On 5 December 1959, the Vatican conferred the Cathedral status as a basilica.
From this time, this cathedral has the official name of Saigon Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica.

Special characteristics

During the construction time, all original building materials were directly imported from France. Although the contractor did not use coated concrete, these bricks have retained their bright and lively red color until today. Two bell towers, each with a height of 57 m and 6 bronze bells have just been added in 1879. Another special thing about this cathedral is a diverse system of stained-glass windows, depicting Saints and stories in the Bible.
Outside the main building lies a small garden that has a marble statue of the Virgin Mary.

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