Attractions in Saigon: Notre Dame Cathedral
Notre Dame Cathedral is a check-in point not to be missed when coming to attractions in Saigon Ho Chi Minh. With ancient French architecture and luxurious space from outside to inside, this place is considered the largest Catholic church in Vietnam and also one of the symbols of Saigon.
General introduction about Notre Dame Cathedral – attractions in Saigon
This church is officially known as the Basilica of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception and is more commonly known by its shorter name, Notre Dame Cathedral. This location is located in the heart of District 1, at No. 1, Cong Xa Paris, Ben Nghe Ward. This is the second church built by the French on the banks of the Charner since the early days of occupation in Saigon. In particular, the first church is located on 5th Street (now Ngo Duc Ke, in District 1) and was previously a Vietnamese temple. After the Vietnamese fled here, the late Lefebvre converted this temple into a Catholic church. However, because this church was too small, France built a second church, which is the Notre Dame Cathedral today.
Specifically, Notre Dame Cathedral attractions in Saigon was built on October 7, 1877, by Bishop Isodore Comlombert. The architecture of the church is a combination of Roman and Gothic styles, so it is classic and luxurious. This place was built according to the project of architect J. Bourard including the cathedral, the bell tower, and the park. Today, Notre Dame Cathedral is the largest Catholic center in Saigon, as well as a famous tourist destination, attracting a large number of domestic and international tourists to visit.
The unique architecture of Notre Dame Cathedral
After more than a century of construction, this church still retains its inherent ancient features and brings a different beauty to the lavish and bustling Saigon city. Because this place is always the top destination for many tourists when visiting Ho Chi Minh City.
Cathedral inside the church
The first construction to mention is the church inside Notre Dame Cathedral. This place has a very special design with a bearing capacity of 10 times that of the entire architecture of the church. The cathedral consists of 1 main heart, 2 appendages, and 2 rows of chapels, with a total length of 93m, a width of up to 35m, and the height of the dome is 21m. With such an area, the cathedral can receive 1,200 visitors to visit and pray at the same time.
Upon entering the church, visitors will be overwhelmed by the massiveness of the bell tower, which is likened to the soul of Notre Dame. Initially, the work only consisted of 2 bell towers 36.6m high and no spire. In 1895, people built a new roof to cover the steeple with a height of 21m. Thus, the overall design of the bell tower will have a height of up to 57m. Up to now, on these 2 bell towers are hanging a total of 6 bells representing 6 timbres (do, re, mi, son, la, si) with extremely sophisticated carvings.
The altar area inside Notre Dame Cathedral is also a highlight that attracts the attention of visitors. Made from monolithic marble, the altars here are quite massive in size. In addition, the materials are delicately carved in combination with 56 colorful glass windows that are combined together to form a unique architectural whole. If you pay close attention, you will notice that all the lines, edges, and patterns in the altar area have a solemn and elegant feature typical of Roman and Gothic design styles.
Outside park area
The park area is located at the front of the cathedral. In the central area of the park, there is a statue of Our Lady of Peace, which was painstakingly executed by sculptor G.Ciocchetti in 1959. The overall work is 4.6m high and weighs 8 tons, considered a symbol. of Notre Dame Cathedral. The statue is made of white Italian marble, depicting the image of the Virgin Mary in an upright position and holding a globe with a cross attached to it. In particular, the image of Our Lady’s eyes gazing up at the sky as if praying for peace for the country of Vietnam made many tourists feel moved.
Experience visiting Notre Dame Cathedral attractions in Saigon
To make your discovery experience more complete, please refer to the useful travel experiences below. If you do not know which hotel to book near Notre Dame Cathedral or do not know how to move here, the following information is even more necessary for you.
How to get to Notre Dame Cathedral
This place is located in the center of District 1, City. Ho Chi Minh, so you can easily move here. If you are staying at one of the hotels nearby, you can walk to the church and take advantage of the beautiful scenery of attractions in Saigon. If you are further away, a taxi is always your first choice when traveling anywhere because of its convenience, affordable price, and fast travel time.
However, if you want to be more active in your sightseeing journey, you can also rent a self-drive motorbike. Each motorbike has a reasonable rental price of 100,000 VND/day. You should save the directions to avoid getting lost between the intersections in Saigon City! When you arrive, you can park your car at Thong Nhat Hall, Hoa Binh School, or Thanh Nien cultural house. In addition, other public transport such as motorbike taxis, cyclo or buses is also the choice of many tourists.
Time to visit Notre Dame Cathedral
The church is free for visitors to visit, but you should save the church’s Mass hours to fully explore the unique experiences here. Specifically, Mass at the church is at 2 hours of 5:30 and 1730, from Monday to Saturday every week. On Sundays, the time slots will be more diverse, including 5:30, 6:45, 8:00, and 9:30, and some afternoon timetables at 16:00, 17:15, and 18:30.
Notre Dame Cathedral is one of the attractive tourist attractions that you cannot miss if you have the opportunity to visit Ho Chi Minh City. With a unique artistic architectural style and many famous works, this place attracts a large number of domestic and foreign tourists to visit.
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