The Notre Dame Basilica of Saigon was built by French colonists between 1863 and 1880 and is considered the most impressive cathedral in Vietnam. It was built to look like the Notre Dame church in Paris.
In the Beginning
The cathedral went under many names over the years. It was first called Saigon Church and was originally a simple wood structure. Nothing of that remains today if you choose to visit while staying at one of the prestigious Ho Chi Minh City hotels.
The Design Competition
A design competition for creating the basilica was worn by Jules Bourard, a French architect who specialised in religious architecture. It was he that thought to make Saigon Church a mini replica of the famous Notre Dame.
Our Lady of Peace
The statue that makes this cathedral famous, Our Lady of Peace was established in 1959 having been brought down from Rome. It is made of granite and stands outside the church entrance. The statue was officially anointed in 1960 by Pope John Paul II.
If you ask around at your hotel the likes of PARK ROYAL Saigon, you will find that almost all locals have heard of the basilica and this is because the statue of the Blessed Virgin was said to have shed tears causing an uproar with people coming from all over to witness it.