Saturday, July 9, 2011

Xplore Saigon: Notre Dame Basilica

Notre Dame Basilica (Nhà thờ Đức Bà Sài Gòn) is located in my favorite area of downtown Saigon, at Nguyen Du and Dong Khoi, in Paris Square. It seems to be the most famous landmark of the city, judging after the number of tourists and Vietnamese locals that gather here every day. This is the place where many brides and grooms take pictures for their wedding album, and tourists visit and... take hundreds of photos per minute. I stopped after my first 10, but came back after 3 days and started taking pictures again. Indeed, it's a very photogenic area.

The back of the basilica - view from Diamond Plaza
The neo-Romanesque Notre Dame basilica was built by the French colonists between 1863 and 1880, using only materials imported from France. The outside walls of the cathedral were built with bricks imported from Marseille, which have preserved their reddish color until today. The church also boasts two impressive 58 meter high bell towers, as well as 56 glass squares supplied by the French Lorin company in the province of Chartres.

In front of the basilica, in a small park with manicured grass and flowers, there is a beautiful granite statue of the Holy Mother - Regina Pacis - which was made in Rome and put in place in 1959, replacing the former bronze statue of Pigneau de Behaine (Bishop of Adran).

Visitors can attend the religious service held here three times a day on weekdays and six times a day on Sundays (they hold a mass both in Vietnamese and in English at 9:30 a.m on Sundays). Admission is free, but donations are much appreciated.

No comments:

Post a Comment