Notre Dame Basilica de Saigon
This Roman Catholic cathedral constructed by the French colonists is the seat of the Archbishop of Saigon. The red building with two pointed bell towers is a distinctive landmark of Ho Chi Minh City.
The French Bishop Isidore de Colombert laid the foundation stone of the Saigon Notre Dame Basilica in 1877. The building was designed in France and built under the supervision of a well known French engineer named Bourad. It was consecrated on Easter Day, 1880 in the presence of the then Governor of Cochin China, Charles Le Myre de Vilers. The church became a basilica in 1959 after receiving approval from the Vatican.
The Notre Dame Basilica is made from construction material imported directly from France. The bricks were made in Marseilles and the stained glass that once adorned the windows came from Chartres. It has a neo Romanesque design with three arched façade. The two bell towers are 57.6 meters high and hold six bronze bells. Each tower is topped by a 3.5 meter high cross. In 1959, Bishop Joseph Pham Van Thien of the Saigon parish installed a statue of the Holy Mother in front of the church. In 2005, a story that the statue had shed tears circulated and thousands of visitors came to view the phenomenon. The clergy later denied the occurrence of the incident.