Notre Dame Basilica, Saigon

“Whatever may be the future of architecture, in whatever manner our young architects may one day solve the question of their art, let us, while waiting for new monuments, preserve the ancient monuments. Let us inspire the nation with a love for national architecture.” ~ Victor Hugo

The Saigon Notre Dame Basilica (Vietnamese: Vương cung thánh đường Đức Bà Sài Gòn or Nhà thờ Đức Bà Sài Gòn), is called the Basilica of Our Lady of The Immaculate Conception (Vietnamese: Vương cung thánh đường Chính tòa Đức Mẹ Vô nhiễm Nguyên tội) officially.

It is a cathedral located downtown of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Established by French colonists, the cathedral was constructed between 1863 and 1880.  In 1895, two bell towers were added to the cathedral, each 57.6 m high with six bronze bells, with the total weight of 28.85 metric tonnes.  The crosses were installed on the top of each tower of 3.5 m high, 2 m wide, 600 kg in weight.  The total height of the cathedral to the top of the Cross is 60.5 m.

Basilica of Our Lady of The Immaculate Conception ( Vương cung thánh đường Chính tòa Đức Mẹ Vô nhiễm Nguyên tội)
Front view of the Basilica of Our Lady of The Immaculate Conception ( Vương cung thánh đường Chính tòa Đức Mẹ Vô nhiễm Nguyên tội)

All building materials were imported from France. The outside wall of the cathedral was built with bricks from Marseille.  Although the contractor did not use coated concrete, these bricks have retained their bright red color until today.  Many tiles have since been made in Ho Chi Minh City to replace the tiles that were damaged by the war. There are 56 glass squares supplied by the Lorin firm of Chartres province in France. The cathedral foundation was designed to bear ten times the weight of the cathedral. (Thanks, Wiki)

Sights and colors of Saigon — a fascinating look at Vietnam’s largest city, Ho Chi Minh (formerly Saigon) from my visit in 2011.
Photography by Jojie Alcantara

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