The Famous Churches in Ho Chi Minh City
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Saigon (or Ho Chí Minh City), is considered one of the most fascinating destinations in Southern Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh City an eclectic mix of Chinese, French, Vietnamese and American influenced architecture also boasts an array of beautiful churches. So if you are interested in how design can affect culture, then don’t forget to check out the famous churches in Ho Chi Minh City. While Vietnam is primarily a Buddhist nation, the Catholic church has left an indelible imprint on Saigon’s landscape. Even to this day throughout Ho Chi Minh City beautiful churches are being built in the Catholic tradition. The list below looks at churches mainly constructed in the 19th Century, which have either French Gothic and or Romanesque qualities.
The Saigon Notre Dame Basilica
When visiting Saigon, visiting the Notre Dame Cathedral is a tourist must. This basilica encapsulates the many colonial influences of Vietnam’s past succinctly. This cathedral, which was among the first Catholic churches of Saigon, highlights the French colonial influence on the region.
From 1865, the Saigon Notre Dame Basilica was the largest church of French construction in the country. The Notre Dame Cathedral built by Commander Bonard, constructed with steel frame, stained glass, and beautifully craft French bricks and bluestone from Bien Hoa, is a landmark in Saigon.
Unlike other churches, of the period, the Cathedral constructed with electricity in mind, is unique for a church of this time. The Cathedral can accommodate 1200 parishioners and imposes itself on the city landscape. The church stands witness to Vietnam’s history a living monument to Vietnam’s freedom and independence.
The Saigon Notre Dame Basilica is such a fascinating architectural masterpiece with a high value regarding architecture and art history and construction as well. Although the church has been witnessing numerous historical periods, today, it exists as a living monument of the freedom of Vietnam.
The Cho Quan Church
The Cho Quan Church with unique, magnificent and solemn architecture, is one of the oldest Cathedrals in Ho Chi Minh City. Built in 1896 in the French Gothic style, this Catholic Cathedral has the traditional bell tower and beautiful stained glass windows.
The Cha Tam Cathedral
The Cha Tam Cathedral known as the Saint Francis Xavier was inaugurated in 1900 and completed in 1902. Built with Chinese like pagoda style features, it is a rarity in Saigon.
In case you are wondering about its name? “Cha Tam” in Vietnamese represents the first Priest, Pierre d ‘Assou, or “Father Tam”. While the church still possesses Gothic-like architecture, the Chinese culture can be found in various features.
On the Cha Tam Cathedral’s rooftop is the lotus, along with two painting scrolls written in Kanji on both of two sides. Also four red pillars which are uncommon in Catholic churches. Among the busy and chaos of life in Ho Chí Minh City, the distinctive architecture of the Cha Tam Cathedral features the acculturation of Vietnamese, Chinese and European Gothic architecture.
The Tan Dinh Church
Just as the Saigon Notre Dame Basilica, Ta Dinh Church is a significant landmark of Ho Chí Minh City. This church first inaugurated in 1870 and completed two years later is unique in Saigon. The typical French style architecture with Baroque, Romanesque decoration painted a vibrant pink is unmissible. Its beautiful white trim gives the church a fresh look.
At dusk, when the bells ring, the scenery of Saigon seems much more romantic and sophisticated because of its presence. The church is simply beautiful.
This is just a small collection of the famous churches of Ho Chi Minh City. If you are a lover of church architecture don’t be afraid to explore all the districts of Saigon! You will be sure to experience many styles amd many architectural influences.