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Apart from being a financial hub, Ho Chi Minh City, or Saigon, is the home to the Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon, one of Vietnam’s most important religious destinations. The place also has historical and architectural importance, attracting the attention of tourists worldwide. Eventually, this monument has become a major emblematic landmark of the country. Let’s examine some of the most important facts about the Notre Dame of Cathedral.

Delve Into The History

The Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon attracts millions of tourists around the year.

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Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon is one of the most prominent religious areas in Ho Chi Minh City. It was mainly used for community activities and worship, especially serving the French colonists in Vietnam during the late 19th century. The cathedral received its official name from Pope John XXIII. The cathedral received its name after Bishop Pham Van Thien held a ceremony to install the statue of Peaceful Notre Dame.

The ancient cathedral offers a picturesque view of the place, especially in the downtown corner of Ho Chi Minh City. The Cathedral was believed to be constructed between 1863 and 1880 by the French colonists upon conquering the city. The cathedral’s construction is said to have been laid down on March 28, 1863, by Bishop Lefevre as he laid the first stone. The statue was constructed in 1959 using granite in Rome. The Saigon Chief Cathedral conferred its Basilique in 1962.

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Architecture Of Notre Dame Cathedral Of Saigon

The Notre Dame of Cathedral features a French influence in its architecture.

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Almost all the building materials of the attraction were imported from France. Their primary aim was to build a highly resistant structure. The roof tiles were supplied from Marseille, which was uncommon then.
The church features stained glasses which the Lorin firm of Chartres further manufactured. The exterior of the cathedral features bricks from Toulouse. Although there is no concrete coasting, the bricks have managed to retain their deep, bright red colour.

1. Design

The Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon is located very close to the Diamond Plaza of the city.

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The Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon’s architecture blends neo-Romanesque and Gothic design, contributing to its overall grand look. It is complemented by twin bell towers. One of the area’s major landmarks is its dome, which is 93m long, 35m wide, and 21m high. It is said that the cathedral’s foundation can hold up to 10 times the weight of the same structure.

Since there are no fences around, people visiting the nearby areas can get a clear view of what the cathedral looks like. The 56 glazed stained glass windows feature stories, rose images, scriptures and lessons from the Bible. The high-domed ceilings have dark brown arches with a Roman and Gothic touch, and white columns add to the ethereal and elegant look of the cathedral, determining the sacredness of the place.

2. Bell Towers

The Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon has some of the heaviest bells at the Bell Towers.

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The Bell Towers are one of the most prominent attractions at the cathedral. The French erected these bell towers in 1895, which are 57.6m high and feature iron spires. The top of the two front buildings of the cathedral (36.6m high) features a 3.5m tall crucifix, which increases the height of the buildings to 60.5m. As a result, the two front buildings of the cathedral are the highest buildings in Vietnam.

These are power-operated bells made and shipped from France in 1879. There are a total of six bells which are rung only on special occasions like Christmas Eve. The sound from the bells is so loud that it can be heard from around 10 kms away too. The clock between the twin bell towers is 1 ton in weight and was made in Switzerland in 1887.

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3. Front Area

Visitors can see the magnificent Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon from the main road.

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The front area of Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon is well-decorated with trees and has four pathways. A statue of the Virgin Mary, made by sculptor G. Ciocchetti, was installed at the site in 1959. The magnificent, unpolished statue is 4.6m tall and 8 tons heavy. The statue features the Virgin Mary holding a globe in her hand and her eyes facing the sky as if praying for the well-being of Vietnam and the rest of the world.

The stone pedestal of the Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon Virgin Mary statue also has engravings that say, ‘Notre Dame blesses the peace to Vietnam’. Once, several witnesses claimed that they saw the statue shed a tear or noticed a single drop of tear trickling down her cheek. After that incident, thousands of people started gathering at the Cathedral to notice the unconfirmed event happen once again.

Check Out The Opening Hours

The Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon is available for public visit during the day.

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It is important to visit the cathedral during the opening hours to experience it in all its glory and beauty. The opening hours are different from the mass hours. Here’s detailed information about the Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon’s opening hours and mass hours:

  • Opening Hours: 8:00 AM- 11:00 AM; 2:00 PM-4:00 PM (daily)
  • Weekday Mass: 5:30 AM-5:30 PM
  • Sunday Mass: 5:30 AM, 6:45 AM, 8:00 AM, 9:30 AM
  • English Mass: 4:00 PM, 5:30 PM, 6:30 PM

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Things To Do At Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon

You can try Banh Trang Tron after your visit at the cathedral

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The Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon has many things to do in and around it. Therefore, planning your trip and route accordingly can greatly help in the long run and make your trip memorable. Here are some of the major things while you’re visiting the attraction:

    • Attend Mass Hours: Always try visiting the Cathedral or the nearby Duc Ba Church during the fixed mass hours for weekdays and weekends.
    • Try local food: While visiting the cathedral, it’s always a good idea to try local and authentic food. Some of the best dishes include fresh fruits with chilli salt, Banh Tam Bi, and Banh Trang Tron.
    • Take a trip to the nearby cafes: Isn’t Vietnamese coffee too popular? Sip delicious Vietnamese coffee at the nearby cafes, and do not forget to enjoy the ground coffee.
    • Feed the pigeons: Carry a piece of bread with you to feed the pigeons around the Cathedral. You’re likely to witness hundreds of pigeons here.
    • Stroll around Paris Commune Square: When visiting the cathedral, make sure you also visit the nearby Paris Commune Square with your friends and family.

How To Reach Notre Dame Cathedral Of Saigon

View of the insides of a public vehicle (bus)

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The Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon is in downtown Ho Chi Minh City. Here are some of the prominent modes of transport that visitors can use to visit it:

      • Personal vehicle: There is a parking spot near the cathedral, as well as near the Hoa Binh Primary School, Central Post Office, and Ho Chi Minh City Cultural House for Youth.
      • Public Transport: Public transport, such as taxis and vehicles, is available for tourists to help them reach the spot. The buses that you can board include 04, 18, 120, 30, 36, 93, and 31. These buses pass throughout the city, offering a glimpse of all the major landmarks around.

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Notre Dame Cathedral Saigon Restoration

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The attraction is currently undergoing restoration, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2027. The main purpose of the restoration is to preserve and improve the cathedral’s historical and architectural significance. According to the current restoration strategies, the tile roof system is being rebuilt to improve its aesthetic appearance.

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Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon is one of the major attractions in Vietnam. The unparalleled beauty of the massive historical structure always captures your attention. Plan your trip to Vietnam during the tourist season to witness the festive decorations that enhance the place. You must do some research around it, too, to plan your visit accordingly and make it one of the most memorable.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon

What is the significance of Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon?

The Notre Dame Cathedral Saigon has various historical artefacts. Thousands of tourists gather here every day to witness the architectural marvel.

What is the architectural style of the Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon?

The Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon is mostly popular for its French-style architecture.

What is the Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon entrance fee?

There is no entrance fee for the Notre Dame Cathedral Saigon. However, it is advisable to book your Notre Dame Cathedral tours earlier so that you can avoid any potential delays.

Can you take a walk around Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon?

Yes, you can take a walk around Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon. You need to book a trip to the place so that you can enjoy your trip to the place properly.

Who is the Patron at Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon?

The Patron at the Notre Dame Cathedral of Saigon is Our Lady of Immaculate Conception. The Cathedral was constructed in 1880.

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