Sunday, March 24, 2013

SAIGON NOTRE DAME CATHEDRAL

The facade of churches always fascinates me and gives me the feeling of traveling through time, back to when the same first came into existence.  In the city of Ho Chi Minh, of Vietnam never would you miss this neo-Romanesque church standing at the center of the city known as the Saigon Notre Dame Cathedral.

In the year 2009, the first time I glanced at the cathedral it was so majestic and I couldn't help but be mesmerized at its grand architecture, which charm still remains even to date.  In an attempt to take lots of photo on this grand cathedral during that year, I failed.  All our cameras were battery empty.  And so, I said to myself I shall be back to take lots of photos of it and share it to the world.  Thus, all visits to Vietnam mean a mandatory visit to the said church. 

Location:
Bến Nghé, Quận 1, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam
+84 8 3822 0477


The Notre Dame Cathedral is also a witness to the rich culture of Vietnam. With the mandatory research of every place I visit, below is something to ponder upon to feed the curiosity in each one of you.

Established by French colonists, the cathedral was constructed between 1863 and 1880. It has two bell towers, reaching a height of over 58 meters (190 feet). Following the French conquest of Cochinchina and Saigon, the Roman Catholic Church established a community and religious services for French colonialists. 

The first church was built on Rue 5 (today's Ngo Duc Ke Street). This had been a Vietnamese pagoda, which had been abandoned during the war. Bishop Lefevre decided to make this pagoda a church. In 1959, Bishop Joseph Pham Van Thien, whose jurisdiction included Saigon parish, attended Holy Mother Congress held in Vatican and ordered a Peaceful Notre Dame statue made with granite in Rome. When the statue arrived in Saigon, on February 16th, 1959, Bishop Pham Van Thien held a ceremony to install the statue on the empty base and presented the title of "Regina Pacis". It was Bishop Pham Van Thien who wrote the prayers "Notre-Dame bless the peace to Vietnam". On the following day, Cardinal Aganianian came from Rome to chair the closing ceremony of the Holy Mother Congress and solemnly chaired the ceremony for the statue, thus the cathedral was then-on called Notre-Dame Cathedral.(source: http://www.vietnam-beauty.com/cities/ho-chi-minh-city/5-ho-chi-minh-city/64-saigon-notre-dame-cathedral.html)

The church stands not merely as a sacred place for Catholics but also as a tourist attraction that captivates the lenses of each hobbyist photographer, tourists, travelers and even locals alike.  As a proof of which, below are some of the photos I took at different vantage points.









 Photos presented were taken during my September 2012 travel.





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